In killing his millionaire wife for her fortune, Roderick Covlin used a chokehold so tight he broke a bone in her neck. He then left the body in the bathtub of the couple's Upper West Side, Manhattan, home for his 9-year-old daughter to find. Later, he'd pose as Anna Covlin to pen a false confession claiming the girl pushed her mother in a fight, per the New York Times. Now 18, Anna stands behind her father, whom a jury convicted of second-degree murder last month. He's "one of the most caring and loving people I know," she wrote in a letter read at Covlin's Wednesday sentencing, per the New York Daily News. Her brother, 12-year-old Myles, similarly urged NY Supreme Court Justice Ruth Pickholz to apply a light sentence, citing his father's innocence. Unmoved, Pickholz sent Covlin to prison for the maximum sentence of 25 years to life.
Some family members were thrilled. A sister-in-law of 47-year-old victim Shele Danishefsky Covlin called Covlin "a heartless monster" who "tried to destroy our family in so many ways." Those included efforts to regain custody of his children from his parents. Covlin not only plotted to kill those parents—who also still support him, per the Washington Post—but told Anna to falsely accuse her grandfather of rape and planned to marry her off in Mexico so as to free up her trust fund, prosecutors said. Money was also a motive in the Dec. 31, 2009, murder as Danishefsky Covlin had filed for divorce and planned to remove Covlin from her $5.27 million will. Ahead of sentencing, Covlin maintained his innocence in the death initially viewed as an accident. "My daughter who was there that night knows the truth," he said. "She's the only one who could." (Read more murder stories.)