June 12’s episode of Dateline NBC explores Shele Danishfesky’s death on New Year’s Eve in 2009. On March 13, 2019, a Manhattan jury found Roderick “Rod” Covlin guilty of second-degree murder in the brutal death of his estranged wife Danishfesky. The 47-year-old wealth manager was found in the bathtub of her Upper West Side apartment, and her death was originally believed to be accidental.
Covlin was separated from his wife and lived across the hall from Danishfesky; the two were embroiled in a divorce and custody dispute over their two children. Prosecutors argued during the trial that Danishfesky was about to remove Covlin from her will, The Post reported. They argued that Covlin was a taekwondo expert who snuck into her apartment, snapped her neck with a martial arts move and then staged a drowning scene. The couple’s daughter Anna was left to find her mother’s body.
Where is Covlin today?
He Was Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder & Sentenced to 25-Years-to-Life
Despite Covlin being the primary suspect in the case, he wasn’t arrested for six years due to a lack of evidence. In the following years, The Post wrote about how he tried to look into different ways of killing his parents, who had custody of his kids, and accessing Danishfesky’s money. Court papers referenced by the outlet indicate some of these schemes: Covlin wanted to kidnap his daughter and pay someone in Mexico to marry her so he could control her money. He also spoke to his girlfriend about poisoning his parents. He was eventually arrested just two months before he would have inherited his late wife’s fortune.
A month after his second-degree murder conviction in March 2019, Covlin was sentenced to 25-years-to-life in prison, the maximum sentence. He is serving his sentence in Green Haven Correctional Facility, where he was admitted on May 6, 2019. State records show that the earliest he is eligible for parole is in May 2040.
Green Haven is a maximum-security prison for male inmates located in Stormville, NY. According to a June 11 report from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the facility was affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, with 55 incarcerated individuals testing positive for the virus. Of that number, 51 have recovered and two inmates have died.
After Covlin was found guilty in 2019, his attorneys told media that they planned to appeal the decision. Heavy reached out to Covlin’s legal team about the appeal but did not hear back.
Covlin’s Children, Who Live With His Parents, Argued Leniency During His Sentencing
Covlin’s two children, Anna and Myles, both asked for leniency in their father’s case during the sentencing portion of the trial. Covlin’s son Myles, 12 years old at the time of the hearing, told Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Ruth Pickholz: “Please give him a light sentence so I have him back in my life… I love him so much.” He said he believes his father is innocent in his mother’s death, The Post reported.
Covlin’s mother read a letter from his daughter Anna, who also asked the judge for a lighter sentence. Guardianship of Covlin’s children was granted to his parents in 2014.