Mark Gerardot, a former Delaware university creative director, was having an affair with another marketing professional, but his wife, Jennair, found out and ambushed and murdered the other woman in her own home, according to police.
What police characterized as a murder suicide played out in chilling fashion on April 23, 2018 in the Radnor Township, Pennsylvania home of Meredith Chapman, 33, a vivacious marketing professional, former television reporter, and once candidate for state Senate.
In the end of it all, Mark Gerardot’s wife, Jennair Gerardot and Chapman, the wife of a city councilman, lay dead.
Jennair Gerardot, a 47-year-old marketing professional from Delaware, lay in wait for the 33-year-old woman with whom her husband was having an affair, and then murdered her inside her home, according to police. Jennair Gerardot brought a wig to the scene, police said.
“It’s not a love triangle. You had a man who was married that was having an affair with this other woman,” said Bill Colarulo, superintendent of Radnor Township police, in a news conference. “The wife knew about it. And this was a calculated, planned attack. She broke into the house. She was lying in wait, and she shot her as soon as she walked in, and then she shot herself.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jennair Sent Mark a Series of Texts & Then Murdered Chapman, Police Say & Mark Is Trying to Raise Attention to PTSD
Mark Gerardot spoke in great detail about the tragedy to 20/20 for its September 6, 2019 episode. He told the program that he’s writing and book and still trying to come to terms with the losses. He had married Jennair in 1993. “We were happy,” Gerardot said to ABC. “I couldn’t imagine not being with her for the rest of my life.”
Mark moved on from the University of Delaware. According to his LinkedIn page, he lives in the San Diego area and works as creative director for AMResorts. “Motivate and nurture a team of art directors, designers, web developers for results-driven, integrated marketing campaigns to promote 50+ luxury resorts in The Caribbean, Mexico and Europe,” he wrote/
“Developed and launched new brands for six luxury resorts, growing demand and revenue for new markets throughout Mexico, The Caribbean and Europe. Proactively execute critical management and budgetary decisions to make team more effective, more involved and more accountable for measurable results.” He has held the position since 2018.
On his Facebook page, he wrote that he is “widowed” and posted photos in wine country and with his dog. “Spent the day smoking tires at the BMW Performance school. These cars are a blast,” he wrote with one recent picture. Mark Gerardot has a website, which you can see here. “For more than 15 years, Mark Gerardot has helped create and support brands from the agency side to the inside. He has built creative teams from the ground up and challenged others to grow and break new ground. And now it’s time for his next creative challenge,” it says.
He also has a website for his book. He wrote this with the introduction for it:
I have spent many sleepless nights and months, desperately trying to piece it all together. How did I and so many others miss the signs?
For years, my wife had suffered from depression and more recently diagnosed with PTSD due to the trauma of our marriage ending. But there was something else. Something gone undiagnosed by her psychologist, our marriage therapist and her clinical psychiatrist. We all missed the red flags.
There will undoubtedly be critics, angry that I decided to speak out, that I’m stirring up a story that the media and everyone had finally forgotten. But I don’t want to forget. I can’t, and I couldn’t if I tried. I too was mortally wounded, not by a bullet but by a ruthless plot for revenge that still leaves a giant hole in my heart. A hole that can’t begin to heal until I can get it all out in the open.
What started as a journaling exercise evolved into a year-long investigation and cathartic search for answers. How did it happen? What could I have done differently? And where do I go from here? Join me as I continue my search for which I have more questions than I currently have answers.
The book is called Irreparable.
Mark also has a blog. On it, he described how he dealt with the trauma by starting over completely. “It was all gone. Everything. Every piece of furniture. Every book. Every Pot. Pan. Fork. Kitchen knife. Sold or given away,” he wrote. “All that remained, my clothes and a few personal items, were packed into my car which sat running outside the front door. I looked back at my empty apartment one last time, locked the door one last time, and got on the elevator one last time. Then I got into my car and pulled away. For the first time in my entire life I was homeless, but not without hope.”
He described how, after the murder/suicide, he was in great emotional turmoil. He also started traveling. “I had an emotional meltdown in Barcelona, drank myself into oblivion and woke up on the beach in Costa Rica,” he wrote.
He wrote that writing has helped him and he rejects claims he’s doing it for fame or fortune. “‘He’s just doing this for fame and fortune,’ someone recently said about me after learning I’d been writing a book for the past year. But that just isn’t true,” he wrote on his blog. “I’m speaking and writing now because I have something important to share. The truth. And what I’ve come to learn about my late wife, about depression, PTSD and mental health — including my own.” He said that any royalties from the book “will be donated to a charitable organization that supports suicide prevention.”
Things unraveled due to financial stress and arguments and, especially, when he took a job with Meredith Chapman as his supervisor and they started an affair while his wife was still temporarily living in South Carolina. “When I sat across the desk from her, within five minutes, I didn’t say it out loud, but I said, ‘I’ve got to work for this person,'” he said to ABC of Meredith. “She was so articulate and so energetic and passionate about the job and accomplished at her age to be in the position that she was in. I was dumbfounded.”
He tried to explain to ABC why he had the affair. “Here comes Meredith. She’s just telling me such a different story, that I’m good at what I do. That she said…I’d never heard this from Jennair’s lips ever…that I’m such a wonderful man,” Mark Gerardot said. “That just made an impression on me. Here’s this woman who I think is amazing saying that she thinks I’m a wonderful man.”
Police say that the jilted wife, Jennair Gerardot, sent her husband a series of texts telegraphing her intentions. But by the time he arrived at Meredith Chapman’s home, it was too late.
After shooting Chapman to death, Jennair killed herself inside Chapman’s home, police said. The murder-suicide occurred in the Rosemont section of Radnor Township, Pennsylvania, although Jennair Gerardot was from Wilmington, Delaware. Authorities revealed that Jennair Gerardot texted her husband a series of messages “in which she laid out how she planned to kill the woman with whom he was having an affair,” according to Delaware Online.
According to police, Jennair hid inside Chapman’s home and then shot Chapmen and herself to death. A short time later, a 911 call came in to police reporting a bloody scene and two women dead. Mark Gerardot was supposed to meet Chapman for a date but went to her house when she didn’t show up, police believe. It’s not clear who made the 911 call.
“There were emails and text messages indicating what she planned to do, and the detectives are still sorting that out,” Colarulo added. “We believe the husband was in the area under the belief that he was meeting the other woman for dinner, and when she didn’t show up, that’s when he got concerned and showed up at the house. But again, that’s unconfirmed and what we’re working on right now.”
According to Philly.com, Jennair Gerardot “disguised herself by donning a wig, and took a train from Delaware to Radnor,” where Chapman lived. She broke into the home, cleaning up the glass to disguise the break-in, and waited, the newspaper reported. Around 7 p.m, Chapman returned home, and Jennair shot and killed her, police said. When police came to the scene, they found Mark Gerardot in the driveway and he told them, “my wife might be inside,” the newspaper reported.
2. Mark & Jennair Gerardot Seemed Like the Perfect Couple on Social Media
It appeared from Jennair and Mark Gerardot’s Facebook pages that they were the perfect couple. “One of my favorite photos of my lovely wife,” Mark Gerardot wrote with the above photo of Jennair on her Facebook page. Professional photos show the couple holding hands and walking on a beach with their dog. Other photos are of the couple’s dog and cat. In one photo, the Gerardots are wearing similar blue shirts, and seem to have carefree lives.
“Seemed so Perfect…” one person commented on the thread under a photo of the couple on Jennair’s page. Jennair said on Facebook that she was from Fort Wayne, Indiana. She sometimes shared political events on Facebook, most recently an event called March Forward Virginia – March to the Polls.
Despite the seemingly happy demeanor, Jennair vented about troubles in the marriage on the site Nextdoor. “I just transferred to Delaware in December for my Husband’s new job, and he’s telling me he wants a divorce,” she wrote, according to Delaware Online, adding in another post she wanted “an EXCELLENT marriage counselor for couple on brink of divorce. We will need someone who is very educated and experienced dealing with couples issues including infidelity, depression, traumatic experiences, child/parent dynamics, being accountable for actions, etc.”
In September 2017, Jennair wrote, “This is a great Campaign! Please share,” linking to a Huffington Post article titled “This Is How Victim-Blaming Logic Would Play Out In Everyday Scenarios.”
She also shared a post that read, “Thinking NFL players are protesting ‘the flag,’ is like thinking Rosa Parks was protesting public transportation.” Jennair posted an article critical of Japanese whaling, writing, “This makes me very depressed. No amount of resources can really help against what they are up against.” She also posted graphics about keeping family pets safe from fireworks on the 4th of July.
On his website, Mark sang his wife’s praises, writing, “On the personal side, my wife and golden retriever are the center of my universe and the reason I get up every morning. I am passionate about animal rights, healthy food and healthy living. I love hiking, biking, running, craft beer and the pursuit of the next best pesto margherita pizza.”
He added: “My ten siblings and I grew up in northern Indiana, where I was indoctrinated with a Midwest work ethic and the compulsion to never stop learning new things. After college I moved to Indianapolis where I worked for a magazine publisher, a real estate developer, a food packaging manufacturer, advertising agency and a PR firm.”
On Twitter, he retweeted comments critical of President Donald Trump.
3. Mark Gerardot Called Himself a ‘Hands-on Creative Leader’ & a Thorn in the Side of the Status Quo
On his LinkedIn page, Mark Gerardot explains, “As a Creative Director, what I do best is bring clarity and rally people behind ideas.” However, Philly.com reported that he had recently left that position.
“Sometimes that means writing a creative brief that crystalizes a gut feeling into an actionable creative strategy. Other times it simply means creating a great user experience or better, more authentic content. But in my experience, it almost always means removing unnecessary clutter and cutting through the marketing BS,” he added.
Gerardot wrote that “early in my career, I realized something that changed my outlook on what I did for a living. ‘Every person isn’t your prospective customer.’ It’s a very liberating thought that allows you to focus on the needs of your actual customers and what you do best.”
He then cited his weaknesses and his strengths, writing, “So if I’m being honest, I’m not a great cook. I don’t play a musical instrument. And while I try hard to run or go to the gym 3x a week, it’s not always easy. But taking something complicated and confusing and turning it into something that brings clarity to organizations and a voice that speaks to what customers want… that’s what I do well. To put it succinctly, I’m a hands-on creative leader, director, designer, storyteller, and a thorn in the side of the status quo.”
The page says he had worked as a creative director for the University of Delaware for less than a year. Before that, he was a creative director for a firm in South Carolina, primarily working with universities. “Hands-on creative direction, graphic design, user experience design, concept ideation, video storyboarding and storytelling for 5+ years,” he listed among his duties.
On LinkedIn, Mark Gerardot wrote that he previously “cofounded and led successful brand strategy, design and marketing firm for 10 years.” The company was called Gerardot & Co.
He described the company’s successes in monetary terms, writing, “Led creative strategy pitches to win over 6 million dollars in new business. Orchestrated 1.5 million dollar rebranding, advertising and social marketing campaign for The Bahamas Out Islands, generating tens of millions of dollars for 50 resorts and hotels.”
He also worked as an art director in Indianapolis. Mark Gerardot has a BA in design from the University of Saint Francis. A woman who endorsed him on Linkedin wrote of Mark Gerardot, “Mark is one of the most talent designers I have worked with. He brings fresh ideas to the table and backs them up with original, fresh and expert design. An absolute pleasure to work with.”
A man who endorsed him wrote, “One of the most brand-centric persons I know, Mark is highly skilled in being able to evaluate a brand and quickly key in on what needs to be done to enhance all of the communication of that brand, then direct (and design when necessary) the delivery of the enhancements.”
4. Mark & Jennair Gerardot Shared a Rescue Animal & Jennair Was Also a Marketing Professional
The couple, formerly from South Carolina, was featured in a photo share on Facebook to an animal rescue organization that read, “Big paws up! Today, the Gerardot family is celebrating 1 year with Huck (formerly Rusty). Thank you GRRA for all the great work you do. We hope to find Huck a brother or sister golden rescue to join our little family later this fall.”
Jennair Gerardot was also a marketing professional. On the surface, at least professionally, she and Meredith shared things in common. “Confident and resourceful Marketing Management professional with a unique blend of communications, creative and technical expertise at agency and corporate environments with over 16 years of marketing results at the entrepreneurial and national level for both BTB & BTC targets,” she wrote on her LinkedIn page.
Jennair listed a series of marketing jobs on her LinkedIn page, including working as a marketing manager for a company in South Carolina, working as a marketing manager and operations manager for Gerardot & Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana, and working as a project manager and marketing services manager in other positions. She also worked as a lease analyst for a realtor.
Jennair Gerardot had a B.A. in Communications/Liberal Arts from Indiana University-Purdue, listing her GPA as 3.53, and also attended Butler University, according to her LinkedIn page. One professional who recommended Jennair on LinkedIn described her as having “a great personality” and said she was “a valuable asset.”
5. Chapman Worked as a University Marketing Director & Once Ran for State Senate
Chapman described herself on Facebook as “Creative, loving, fun, energetic. University of Delaware alum, marketer & professor. Love never fails.”
She described herself as a “senior Executive Marketing Director at University of Delaware” and “Associate Business Consultant at Ruffalo Noel Levitz,” as well as “Adjunct Faculty at University of Delaware” and “Former Director of Digital Communication at University of Delaware.” However, Delaware Online said that Chapman was working for Villanova University at the time of her death.
A friend wrote under one photo of Chapman on Facebook, “Meredith my Undergrad TA two academic years ago is a UD cheerleader extraordinaire and so was her mama! She’s on the side of the YouDee Van…Meredith was also a UD cheerer.”
Chapman wrote that she lived in Newark, Delaware and was from Landenberg, Pennsylvania. Photos indicated that she was recently married. Chapman’s husband was Luke Chapman, who was a city councilman in Delaware, although he didn’t run for the seat again.
She was a political advocate, writing, in her most visible public Facebook post, “For the last six years, Luke’s served on Newark City Council and has been a strong advocate for our neighbors and City. I’ve always had such pride casting my vote for him. As Luke is not running for re-election, I’ve been keenly interested in the candidates vying to fill his seat. On April 10, I’ll be voting Jason Lawhorn For Newark, and I hope my neighbors will be doing the same. As a candidate, Jason has been to every neighborhood in our district. Prior to running, Jason has not only attended Council meetings but spoken on the record to ensure residents’ voices were heard. Jason has solutions to address the current issues facing us and ideas for improving our City for the future. Hear from Jason in this Facebook Live to understand why I’m eager to vote #LawhornForNewark.”
Meredith Chapman was also a former television reporter in Delaware who ran for state Senate herself, although she didn’t win the election. She was involved in other political campaigns in addition to her social media and marketing work for universities.