Produced by Lourdes Aguiar, Allen Alter, Ruth Chenetz and Peter Shaw
[This story previously aired on November 16, 2019. It was updated on April 16, 2022.]
On the morning of Sept. 17, 2012, inside a grand house outdoors of Syracuse, New York, a disturbing scene was unfolding as 23-year-old Jenna Neulander frantically known as 911:
Jenna Neulander: Is somebody coming?
911 Operator: Sure, they’re, they’re en route …
Jenna Neulander: my mother, my mother, my mother …
911 Operator: Is she transferring … Jenna, Jenna…?
Jenna Neulander: Oh my god.
Jenna’s father, Dr. Robert Neulander, had screamed to her for assist. He stated he simply discovered his spouse on the ground of the lavatory bathe. Inside minutes, paramedics arrived on the home. Leslie Neulander, 61, had suffered a large head wound. She was pronounced lifeless on the scene.
“You get a name, ‘fall within the bathe,’ you present up anticipating to see the accident sufferer close to the bathe,: “48 Hours”correspondent Jim Axelrod commented to former DeWitt, N.Y. Police Sergeant Scott Kapral.
“That is proper,” he replied. “The expectations are that she’s going to be there within the bathe or instantly proper outdoors the bathe.”
As a substitute, Kapral discovered Leslie Neulander within the bed room, on the ground, near the mattress.
“I stroll into the precise bed room,” Kapral continued.”…and that is once I catch all of the blood.”
Kapral observed blood in numerous areas of the bed room: pooled on the rug and spattered on the wall subsequent to the mattress.
“My radar’s going off — so far as saying, ‘ We have to reply why — why all this blood is right here,'” he stated.
Kapral had loads of questions, however Dr. Neulander appeared to have all of the solutions. Telling investigators that after discovering Leslie on the bathe flooring, he carried her out of the lavatory, some 60 toes into the bed room, the place he may extra comfortably carry out CPR — one thing he did regardless of Jenna’s protests:
Jenna Neulander on 911 name: Daddy, do not transfer her! Daddy, cease transferring her please!
“As he is relaying the story about what had occurred and because the medical expert’s digesting it and we’re all digesting it, his precise story of step-by-step course of … match the sample of the place you noticed these totally different swimming pools of blood,” stated Kapral.
The medical expert on the scene examined Leslie’s accidents and dominated they matched up with Dr. Neulander’s account. The demise: a tragic accident. The report learn, “Blunt drive head accidents as a result of fall from standing top.” Leslie Neulander died from hitting her head on the bathe bench.
“The entire thing was odd. The entire thing was out of character with a fall within the bathe,” stated Kapral.
“You have been a cop 20 years, had you ever seen a head trauma like that earlier than?” Axelrod requested.
“Effectively not from a fall,” Kapral replied. “However as we’re listening to the medical expert clarify what he feels may’ve occurred, you know, we’re not physicians, we’re not forensic pathologists, we’re law enforcement officials, we’re investigators … So, we definitely defer to him.”
The account of Jenna Neulander, an eyewitness, appeared to again up the medical expert’s ruling that this was an accident when police interviewed her as a part of their routine investigation:
Jenna Neulander police interview: I see him truly carrying her…
Jenna Neulander police interview: He was like placing his withstand her to see if she was respiration.
The demise of Leslie Neulander shook the group.
Mary Jumbelic was a great buddy of the Neulanders.
“Everybody knew the Neulanders,” she stated. “They appeared like the right couple, the right marriage, the right household actually. …Leslie was a wonderful girl. Very vivacious, energetic, unpretentious.”
“She was switched on,” Axelrod famous.
“Sure,” Jumbelic stated. “I do know folks all the time communicate nicely of the lifeless, however actually, this was her character, to be so giving and alive.”
Leslie and Robert gave generously – each their money and time. They have been well-known for his or her philanthropy. Their social prominence dovetailed with Robert Neulander’s skilled standing as some of the extremely regarded gynecologists and obstetricians within the Syracuse space.
“He delivered a variety of infants round right here,” stated Axelrod.
“Many, many with a variety of good emotions towards the care he gave these sufferers for a lot of, a few years,” stated Jumbelic.
Julie Crosby, who labored with Dr. Neulander helping pregnant ladies, says sufferers have been drawn to his supportive demeanor.
“My interactions with Dr. Neulander have been joyful — have been these great issues that have been taking place … welcoming their child, changing into a household,” she defined.
“I discovered Dr. Neulander to be compassionate, type … educated,” stated Crosby.
That caring means, say those that knew them greatest, was a defining worth for this tightly-knit household.
The closeness is apparent to see in videotaped birthday tributes for Robert and Leslie, made by their kids, Emily and Brian, from Robert’s first marriage, and Ari and Jenna from the couple’s 28-year marriage. Combined with loving teasing for his or her mom, is a deep appreciation.
“Thanks for being you. I like you,” Ari Neulander stated on the video.
The Neulanders’ thoughtfulness was one thing Jumbelic skilled firsthand after changing into gravely in poor health, with an an infection, whereas on trip within the Czech Republic in the summertime of 2012.
“I used to be in a coma after which within the hospital for 3 weeks,” she defined.
When she lastly returned house, the primary neighbors to test on her have been the Neulanders.
“I bear in mind hugging all people and I bear in mind Leslie saying, ‘We’re so glad that you just made it,'” Jumbelic recalled.
Simply two days later, Jumbelic obtained the devastating information: Leslie was lifeless — a freak accident, she’d slipped within the bathe.
“I could not consider that she had simply been to see me and inform me how grateful she is that I am alive, and he or she’s lifeless. It was stunning. It was overwhelming,” she stated.
“And what did you consider that?” Axelrod requested.
“Effectively on the time I believed … I assume that may occur, even to a 61-year-old very wholesome, athletic particular person,” Jumbelic replied.
That was the identical conclusion Onondaga County District Legal professional Invoice Fitzpatrick reached when he first heard about Leslie’s demise. He believed it was a tragic accident–until a number of months later, when a tip modified every part.
ACCIDENT OR MURDER?
Three months after Leslie Neulander’s sudden demise, Mary Jumbelic started getting some uncommon calls from associates.
“What are they saying?”Jim Axelrod requested.
“‘We do not suppose it was an accident,” stated Jumbelic.
And who higher to share their issues with than a forensic scientist. For 11 years, Dr. Mary Jumbelic was the county’s chief medical expert till she retired in 2009.
“My focus for my complete profession has been to talk for the lifeless,” she stated.
Dr. Jumbelic listened fastidiously. There have been questions on all that blood and whispers concerning the Neulanders’ private life.
“Are you listening to a few troubled marriage?” Axelrod requested Jumbelic. “Are you listening to about monetary issues?”
“Sure,” she replied to each questions.
In recent times, Dr. Neulander’s thriving follow had been derailed by a battle with an insurance coverage firm and he was now delivering half the variety of infants he had beforehand.
Dr. Jumbelic was reluctant to get entangled, however she lastly picked up the cellphone and known as her previous colleague, D.A. Invoice Fitzpatrick.
“Did you are feeling indirectly you have been betraying the Neulanders?” Axelrod requested Dr. Jumbelic.
“I felt I used to be responding to gossip,” she replied.
Because it seems, the D.A. had additionally been listening to issues. He’d obtained an nameless letter simply earlier than Jumbelic’s name suggesting a unique facet to Dr. Neulander.
“That he is not the, , the nice man that individuals are making him out to be,” Fitzpatrick stated. “Leslie was making an attempt to interrupt away from this man.”
Jumbelic’s preliminary hope was that she may quickly put all of the hypothesis to relaxation.
“And he or she volunteers, , professional bono to try the case, and would I make the file accessible to her, and I stated, ‘completely,'” stated Fitzpatrick.
“As you started to take a look at this file, what jumped out at you?” Axelrod requested Jumbelic.
“The severity of the accidents, in comparison with the reason,” she replied.
Leslie Neulander had suffered a penetrating wound in the direction of the again of her head so extreme the blood pooled in her eye.
“Had you seen head wounds like this earlier than?” Axelrod requested Jumbelic.
“In fact,” she stated.
“In what sort of circumstances?”
“Automobile accidents, falls from 20-story buildings. Beatings,” Jumbelic replied.
Requested what may trigger the sort of damage, Jumbelic stated. “A heavy object of some type.”
“You are speaking about getting hit with some object?” Axelrod requested.
“Sure,” Jumbelic affirmed.
“What do you inform the district lawyer after reviewing the file?”
“That it is a murder. Blunt head trauma from an assault,” stated Jumbelic.
Half a 12 months after Leslie Neulander’s demise, the investigation picked up steam. Police revisited the demise scene to gather extra proof from the now unoccupied Neulander house, which had been bought.
“One of many issues we discover …. is — blood everywhere in the again of the headboard on the mattress,” Scott Kapral stated. “We additionally discovered blood — spatter on the — blinds that have been behind the mattress.”
Dr. Neulander was dwelling in a brand new condo which was additionally searched. By now, he had retained among the best prison protection legal professionals within the metropolis, Edward Menkin.
“This has been an open secret and a topic of gossip and irresponsible rumor now for months. Dr. Neulander has not been charged with any sort of offense,” Menkin advised a neighborhood reporter masking the case.
Menkin assured the D.A. that his consumer had nothing to cover. A lot in order that 15 months after Leslie’s demise, Dr. Neulander, now retired, voluntarily sat for an interview with prosecutors and investigators — even acknowledging there’s been issues of their marriage:
District Legal professional Invoice Fitzpatrick: However you have been sleeping individually? OK. What was causing that?
Dr. Robert Neulander: We had thought of a trial separation.
But, Robert Neulander portrays the house as peaceable and loving, regardless of the problems of their marriage. The evening earlier than Leslie died, the couple, together with their son Ari and daughter Jenna had a household dinner at a buddy’s house. Afterwards, Ari headed again to his faculty dorm and Jenna went again house together with her mother and father.
“We stated good evening to one another and we beloved one another and all people kissed and went to their respective bedrooms,” Neulander advised the D.A. through the interview.
Dr. Neulander tells the D.A. that early the following morning, he went for a jog at a close-by state park, Inexperienced Lakes, after which introduced Leslie her ordinary cup of morning espresso when he obtained again: “The bathe is on,” he stated. “I hear the water working and I place it on the nightstand.”
About an hour later, he says, he returned to test on Leslie and there she was: mendacity on the bathe flooring. Dr. Neulander says he began CPR and tried to name 911, however the rest room cellphone wasn’t working. So he ran towards Jenna’s bed room yelling for her to name 911. The time: 8:25 a.m:
Jenna Neulander to 911: OK. My mom, I do not know if she’s respiration. She’s laying on the bottom within the bathe.
He stated he then went again to Leslie and started to maneuver her.”He says he cannot see … the lighting is just not excellent within the rest room,” Fitzpatrick advised Axelrod.
Jenna Neulander throughout 911 name: Dad put her down! Her neck may be damaged!
He then put Leslie down simply outdoors the lavatory to offer her mouth-to-mouth, earlier than transferring her once more.
Jenna Neulander throughout 911 name: Daddy, do not transfer her! Daddy, cease transferring her please!
“I do not know at what age all of us study that you do not transfer someone with a severe head or neck damage, however everyone knows it. And this is a man that is been working towards drugs for 30 years,” stated Fitzpatrick.
Lastly, Dr. Neulander says he positioned his spouse subsequent to the mattress to proceed CPR.
“There’s … extra purple flags than a bull combat going off in my head once I hear that story for the primary time,” Fitzpatrick commented.
Fitzpatrick develops his personal concept that, hours earlier than that 911 name, Dr. Neulander assaulted his spouse within the bed room after which possible chased her into the lavatory.
“I believe that he struck her on that bathe bench,” Fitzpatrick advised Axelrod. “… she could have already been within the strategy of dying at that time.”
Fitzpatrick believes Neulander made up the story of discovering Leslie within the bathe and known as for Jenna so he’d have a witness as he carried his spouse again to the bed room.
“What do you suppose he was doing when he was transferring her?” Axelrod requested.
“I believe now, he has obtained to clarify the blood path from the assault that befell within the bed room that finally made its means into the lavatory and he is gotta do it in reverse,” Fitzpatrick replied. “…he needed to transfer that physique himself to clarify that blood.”
As for the blood spattered within the bed room, the D.A. believes Dr. Neulander did not notice a few of it was there as a result of the violence befell earlier than the solar was up.”And remember he is committing this crime — it is darkish. He does not know the place all of the blood is,” stated Fitzpatrick.
But when Leslie Neulander was attacked in her bed room, why have been the sheets practically pristine? The couple’s long-time housekeeper offered a clue to investigators.
“She appeared on the mattress and obtained upset and stated … ‘These are usually not the sheets that have been on that mattress that Friday.’ She was very assured of that,” stated former DeWitt, N.Y. Police Sergeant Scott Kapral.
The D.A. believes that Dr. Neulander removed the sheets and the weapon on that alleged morning run.
“I believe the homicide weapon is on the backside of Inexperienced Lake someplace together with the — the lacking sheets,” stated Fitzpatrick.
With proof now mounting, the medical expert modified his unique report from unintentional demise to murder.
Practically two years after Leslie Neulander’s demise, her husband, Dr. Robert Neulander, was charged together with her homicide.
“…the defendant … moved the physique of Leslie Neulander after her demise … to make it seem as if she had died from an unintentional fall within the bathe,” D.A. Fitzpatrick advised reporters.
However Dr. Neulander’s household says Fitzpatrick has all of it fallacious. Leslie’s personal kids stand united with the person accused of murdering their mom.
ANALYZING THE BLOOD EVIDENCE
In March of 2015, two-and-a-half years after the demise of Leslie Neulander, excessive drama was about to unfold within the Onondaga County Courthouse.
“It has all the weather….the wealthy defendant … the gorgeous spouse and the thriller surrounding it,” Fitzpatrick stated. “…the weather of was it a murder? Was it an accident? …So it was big for this group.”
Not solely was a distinguished physician on trial, however he had two formidable attorneys battling over his guilt or innocence.
“Individuals have been stopping you on the road. You recognize, ‘Hey Fitz…how’s it look?’ Or ‘Go get em’ or ‘I hope you lose,'” the D.A. stated.
Ed Menkin spoke to native reporters, however declined “48 Hours” request for an interview.
“I’ve by no means had a consumer whose innocence I consider in additional firmly than him,” protection lawyer Ed Menkin advised the reporter.
“48 Hours” requested retired native lawyer Jim Stevens to clarify the protection’s case.
“If both of them finds blood within the water, they go proper for it,” stated Stevens, a CBS Information marketing consultant who attended the trial.
“It was gonna be riveting,” Stevens defined. “It was a top-notch trial all the way in which round.”
Every day in courtroom started with the identical scene within the hallways. Free on $100,000 bail, the physician would arrive flanked not solely by his kids, however by Leslie’s sister and brother.
“He did not do it. That is the message. It was not against the law,” stated Stevens.
The State has larger hurdles to cope with than simply photos; prosecutors don’t have any weapon and no clear-cut motive.
“Is it dangerous to go to a jury with out these issues?” Axelrod requested Fitzpatrick.
“Positive, certain. I imply juries, , they are not that totally different than you and I. They need solutions,” he replied.
Fitzpatrick believes the evidence–like the blood spatter within the bedroom– will show
this was no accident and has enlisted the assistance of forensic scientist Karen Inexperienced to make his case.
“Bloodstains can inform you numerous,” Axelrod famous to Inexperienced.
“They’ll inform you numerous and they’re related to nearly each crime scene that we go to,” she stated.
There have been no cameras within the courtroom so “48 Hours” requested Inexperienced to take us by way of her blood spatter evaluation.
“There was spatter on the headboard, there was spatter on the gadgets on the nightstand simply south of the mattress, there was spatter on the blinds above the mattress, and there was spatter on the south wall that was about seven toes to the south of the mattress,” stated Inexperienced.
“Inform us concerning the south wall, we have been referencing it. What are the 2 spatters which might be marked SBD 1?” Axelrod requested.
“That is an space the place we noticed over 100 spatter stains,” stated Inexperienced.
The prosecution contends that the spatter was primarily one thing known as impression spatter — created when Leslie was attacked within the bed room. To assist higher perceive the terminology, we constructed a set and provided Karen Inexperienced with stage blood to offer us a rudimentary lesson.
“Once we discuss impression spatter, what does that imply?” Axelrod requested.
“So impression spatter is drive utilized to liquid blood. So, I’ll pour a few of our synthetic blood into my hand, and I am gonna punch it, and that is drive going right into a blood supply,” stated Inexperienced.
“The drive impacts the blood and the blood spatters.”
“Sure, and the blood breaks up into smaller drops,” Inexperienced demonstrated by punching her fist into her palm, the liquid spattering onto a Plexiglas wall.
“However once more, it is impression … that is a technique blood will get out,” stated Axelrod.
“Yeah,” Inexperienced stated as she clapped once more. “You may see the way it’s radiating out. We’ve got some smaller stains with some directionality as much as the highest.”
For the Neulander case, Inexperienced carried out varied experiments to recreate the spatter within the bed room – going as far as inserting a rock lined in plastic and a wig on a mattress to simulate Leslie’s head.
“I had a location that was just like the Neulander bed room with the slanted ceiling. …I used all of the measurements that have been within the scene, the approximate top of the mattress, I had a nightstand. …After which I put liquid blood and I impacted it,” Inexperienced defined. “I simply needed to confirm that an impression on or close to the south facet of the mattress may create spatter six or seven toes away in the identical distribution.”
“And will it?” Axelrod requested.
“I used to be in a position to recreate with — an impression occasion, an impression state of affairs — all the spatter that I noticed on this bed room,” Inexperienced replied.
The protection mocked Inexperienced’s strategies, which they stated amounted to nothing greater than “whacking a model over the top.”
The protection had its personal blood spatter professional. He testified that it was not attainable to find out if Leslie Neulander’s demise was an accident or murder, as a result of the investigation had been flawed: there weren’t sufficient close-up footage of the blood. Among the proof in query — just like the headboard and the blinds — had been collected months after the incident and emergency personnel had walked everywhere in the scene. In actual fact, the protection recommended that EMTs could have been chargeable for a number of the blood spatter.
“The primary responders most likely had blood on their fingers and that the gloves have been simply peeled off. And in so doing, the blood flies from the gloves and you do not have an impression however you will have a forged off,” Stevens defined.
The protection additionally argued that the blood may have been forged off by Dr. Neulander himself. The physician stated he’d been sporting an extended sleeved shirt that grew to become so moist and bloody as he tried to frantically save his spouse’s life that he pulled it off.
“And that these spatters by the mattress have been brought on by him eradicating his shirt,” stated Stevens.
Fitzpatrick scoffs at these theories, declaring that paramedics are educated to fastidiously take away their gloves — and that no shirt or gloves may account for the quantity of blood in that room.
“Does not clarify any of the blood,” he stated. “It is a important quantity of blood.”
However the protection insists that it was an accident and that there could have been a great purpose why Leslie Neulander fell that morning: she suffered from vertigo, a dizziness dysfunction. Leslie’s private coach advised the jury that Leslie’s situation had grown worse and her sister, Joanne London-Leslie, testified that it ran within the household and that she herself suffered from it.
“The thought of her sister testifying, is that affecting your view of the case?” Axelrod requested Stevens.
“Positive,” he replied. “Why would not she be madder than hell? And why would not she be saying, ‘I am not testifying for you. What are you loopy? You killed my sister.'”
To bolster their case of an unintentional demise, the protection employed Dr. Daniel Spitz, a medical expert working in Michigan, who’s seen greater than his share of traumatic head accidents.
“His testimony principally is that … the huge head wound that prompted her demise was a results of her falling within the bathe in opposition to the stone bench,” stated Stevens.
“If Leslie sustained an damage within the bathe by her head placing a stone bench, what does this do for Dr. Neulander’s protection?” Axelrod requested Stevens.
“A house run,” he replied.
However the prosecution countered that Leslie suffered not less than two blows to her cranium and that the wound was not constant together with her head placing a straight edge like a stone bathe bench.
“It must be, like, a easy linear fracture– with some bleeding beneath of it. However you do not get the advanced depressed fracture like this,” Dr. Mary Jumbelic advised Axelrod, referencing the picture proven above.
Dr. Jumbelic didn’t testify at trial, however consulted with the prosecution. Leslie’s different accidents, they are saying, additionally do not add as much as a slip and fall.
“There have been abrasions, scrapes of the pores and skin, on her cheek, bruising on her nostril, extra on the left facet of her cheek as nicely. Bruising and scraping on her neck,” she stated.
“If she slipped and fell within the bathe, why aren’t there any accidents to her again and legs? Her knees? Her elbows?” Fitzpatrick requested.
Important to the prosecution’s case: not simply how Leslie Neulander died, however when. Dr. Spitz estimated Leslie died round 7:30 a.m. However the D.A. makes the case that her demise may have occurred as early as 4:15 a.m., which inserts his concept of a pre-dawn assault.
“The time of demise is totally inconsistent with the defendant’s story,” stated Fitzpatrick.
There’s now only one extra witness left to testify — the physician’s daughter. What did she see that horrible morning?
A DAUGHTER’S TESTIMONY
“The day that Jenna was to testify, the spectators have been lined up in anticipation of what she was going to say,” stated Jim Stevens.
Two-and-a-half years after Jenna Neulander’s beloved mom, Leslie, died, the now 25-year-old devoted daughter is about to take the stand to defend her father.
“There was little question there was ache in that courtroom when she testified,” stated Stevens.
“She’s making an attempt to safe her father’s freedom and he or she’s coping with the demise of her mom,” Axelrod famous.
“Proper,” Stevens stated. “I do not understand how she obtained on the stand to do it.”
“She’s the one different eyewitness,” Invoice Fitzpatrick stated. “She’s very, essential to the result of this case.
With all eyes on her, Jenna tearfully describes the mom she misplaced.
“She was genuinely upset and mournful about testifying. The testimony pressured her to carry some reminiscences to the floor of her mom who she clearly beloved very, very a lot,” stated Fitzpatrick.
Jenna then tells the jury what occurred within the Neulander’s house within the hours earlier than her mom died. She says she was together with her mother in Leslie’s bed room till 2 a.m., and Jenna clearly remembers the sheets on her mom’s mattress that evening. She says they’re the identical ones within the demise scene pictures … sheets the housekeeper stated had been modified.
“The altering of the sheets was a major concern. I imply why would you modify the sheets? You modify the sheets as a result of there was blood on it,” stated Stevens.
“No bloody sheets, there is no impression event–” Axelrod identified.
“Proper, on the mattress,” stated Stevens.
Jenna Neulander to 911: I must go over there to see if she’s OK.
Then there’s maybe essentially the most critically vital piece of proof. The later a part of the 911 name:
Jenna Neulander to 911: I must put you on maintain, I am not, it is like a home cellphone.
Jenna put the decision on maintain in her mom’s workplace to get nearer to the lavatory the place Leslie was:
Jenna Neulander to 911: Oh my god, there’s blood all over the place…
Either side argue Jenna’s cry — ” there’s blood all over the place” — is essential and helps their case.
To exhibit the arguments, “48 Hours” made an animation of elements of the Neulander house, primarily based on proof the prosecution introduced at trial. The prosecution believes, as Jenna was working into the lavatory, she passes a path of blood that might not but exist until Robert Neulander attacked Leslie earlier within the bed room after which left her within the bathe.
“She has handed the doorway to the lavatory the place there is a important quantity of blood on the wall that might’ve solely come from Leslie’s head,” Fitzpatrick defined, “maybe by being pushed in opposition to that wall or maybe being chased.
The D.A. says Jenna then grabbed the landline cellphone within the water closet to reconnect with 911, and yells, “there’s blood all over the place.”
“You are saying it is a massive deal how she even phrased, ‘Oh my god, there’s blood all over the place?’ That her mom’s not a part of that sentence?” Axelrod requested.
“Precisely,” Fitzpatrick replied. “Her preliminary response … would have been, ‘Oh my God, my mom’s bleeding, my mom’s on the bottom.’ She would have referenced what she was seeing.”
Fitzpatrick believes Jenna drops the cellphone and the decision captures, seconds later, the precise second when she first sees her mother: as Dr. Neulander begins to hold Leslie’s physique across the nook, out of the bathe and into Jenna’s view. It’s then she lets unfastened a cry of pure anguish:
Jenna Neulander on 911 name: “Oh my god, oh my god, my mom! My mommy!
“As painful as it’s to hearken to, it’s inconceivable that that decision is something aside from a declaration of guilt in opposition to her father,” stated Fitzpatrick.
However the protection says the identical name proves Dr. Neulander’s innocence –that when Jenna runs into the lavatory, there isn’t any blood on the partitions but. Jenna testifies she picks up the cellphone by the bathroom, drops it as a result of it is not working whereas dashing to assist her father. They carry her mom to an space proper outdoors the lavatory and Jenna says it’s at that time, she takes a cordless cellphone from her mom’s dressing room, and reconnects with the 911 operator. Within the protection view, that is when Jenna sees blood on, and round, her mom. That is when she yells, “There’s blood all over the place…”
“The protection’s tackle that’s that her mom is current, in entrance of her, and he or she’s reacting to her mom, the blood that is on her mom and perhaps blood on the wall and on the ground as nicely,” stated Stevens.
“Jenna was requested on the stand, ‘Did you see blood in your technique to the water closet?'” stated Axelrod.
“Appropriate,” stated Stevens.
“She answered what?”
“She stated, ‘No.'”
“That helps the notion that the primary time she noticed blood, she was taking a look at her mom,” Axelrod famous to Stevens.
“Appropriate,” he replied.
The D.A, although, does not consider Jenna may do every part she claims to have completed through the 13 seconds the 911 name was on maintain. Fitzpatrick tried it himself and says it took him about 50 seconds.
“It isn’t bodily attainable to do this in 13 seconds. It isn’t even an in depth query,” he stated.
There’s one different a part of Jenna’s testimony which may be essential. She tells the jury that as her father was tending to her mom within the bed room, she noticed him take off a blood-soaked shirt and throw it to the facet. Now bear in mind, the protection recommended that tossing this bloody shirt could have prompted a number of the blood spatter within the bed room. However the shirt has by no means been discovered.
“There is not a single witness that noticed him with a long-sleeved shirt on aside from Jenna,” stated Fitzpatrick.
“If we injected Jenna Neulander with reality serum and stated, ‘Did your father kill your mom? ‘” stated Axelrod.
“She would say no,” Fitzpatrick stated. “I do not suppose in her thoughts Jenna believes that her father did this. I believe she’s created a protecting world in her thoughts the place mother slipped and fell within the bathe.”
However the query now is not what Jenna believes … it is what the jury believes.
“I am fearful that they are having an emotional response to the agony of this lady. …They know that this lady desires them to vote not responsible. And so they know that this 60-plus-year-old defendant is unlikely to reoffend,” Fitzpatrick defined. “And all of these feelings can play to the detriment of case that to be confirmed past an inexpensive doubt.”
After eight grueling days of testimony, District Legal professional Invoice Fitzpatrick addressed the jury one final time for closing arguments, asking them to pay shut consideration to the bodily proof — particularly the blood spatter on the partitions and the accidents to Leslie Neulander’s physique.
“As I stated many instances within the trial, Leslie will communicate to you, women and gents. It’s a must to hearken to her,” he advised Axelrod. “And to additionally hear fastidiously to the phrases of Jenna Neulander in that essential 911 name.”
Jenna Neulander to 911: Oh my god, there’s blood all over the place…
“It proves his guilt past any shadow of a doubt,” stated Fitzpatrick.
However there’s one factor the D.A. couldn’t share with the jury: what he suspects was the motive that despatched Robert Neulander right into a murderous rage that morning. Investigators realized from a buddy of the Neulander household that Leslie was planning on signing a lease for a brand new condo on the day she died.
“Leslie was on her means out. And this isn’t a man that may take care of that,” Fitzpatrick advised Axelrod.
However this was not introduced at trial, Fitzpatrick says, as a result of the reminiscence of that witness modified. She later stated the condo was for each Leslie and Robert. Ed Menkin strongly denies these accusations and insists there was no motive.
“Within the summation he did not simply say not responsible, he stated harmless,” Axelrod stated to Stevens.
“Harmless. He stated harmless all through,” he replied.
The jury would deliberate for 3 days earlier than alerting the choose they’d reached a verdict. Robert Neulander returned to the courthouse as soon as once more arm-in-arm along with his household, the ache etched on his kids’s faces.
Two-and-a-half years after Leslie Neulander’s demise, the jury discovered Robert Neulander responsible of her homicide. A heartbroken Jenna broke the silence of the hushed courtroom– crying out to her father, “I used to be there. You did not do it”
Outdoors the courtroom, a visibly shaken Ed Menkin addressed the media.
“Bob Neulander is essentially the most honorable particular person I’ve ever met. This case has been a travesty from begin to end. It’s not completed,” he advised reporters.
And so, the Neulander kids turned to lawyer Gerald Shargel — legendary for his protection of mob boss John Gotti — to deal with their father’s attraction. Shargel wasted little time calling for a listening to to throw out Neulander’s conviction, alleging there was severe juror misconduct.
Within the highlight is juror Johnna Lorraine. In line with an alternate juror, Lorraine had obtained texts and different communications concerning the case throughout trial – in opposition to Decide Miller’s orders to not focus on the case.
A search of the accused juror’s cellphone revealed that she had obtained some doubtlessly prejudicial texts, together with one from her father that learn “ensure that he is responsible.” However weeks later, the choose upheld Dr. Neulander’s conviction declaring that the juror had been undecided within the early levels of deliberations, and in the long run he stated she took her position critically.
Virtually 4 months after the decision, sentencing would lastly begin.
With family photos on display, the Neulander children returned to the courthouse. For the first time, cameras were allowed in court.
Facing a maximum sentence of 25 years to life, Neulander’s family begged the judge for the minimum sentence of 15 years. Leslie’s sister, Joanne London-Leslie, spoke on the family’s behalf.
“Had any of us, even slightly suspected foul play of any sort, we would not be here today on Bob’s behalf,” she said.
And then it was time for Robert Neulander to address the court.
“My head is unbowed by the verdict of this court, for an innocent man has been wrongfully convicted. …I would not and did not take a life,” he said. “I love my wife Leslie very much, and I mourn her every day, now and forever.”
The judge sentenced Robert Neulander to 20 years-to-life in a New York state prison.
“In the jury’s eyes, Dr. Neulander, you intentionally murdered your wife, and then attempted to use your own daughter to cover it up. Your daughter who most clearly adores you, which is as diabolical as it gets,” said Judge Thomas J. Miller.
As Dr. Neulander is escorted out of the courtroom to begin his sentence, Jenna called out, “I love you Daddy.”
The Neulander children have now lost not only their mother, but their father as well.
“I hate what this has done to Jenna. That’s probably the most painful thing of all,” Dr. Mary Jumbelic said. “He brought Jenna into that process. He made her a witness for his own purposes. And that is cruel.”
But Jumbelic knows she has also played a role in their suffering.
“Do you have any regrets about your involvement in the case?” Axelrod asked.
“No. …this is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my whole career. However, it was the right thing to do,” she replied. “We are finally giving Leslie the acknowledgement of what happened to her.”
In October 2019, the New York State Court of Appeals granted Robert Neulander a new trial due to juror misconduct.
On March 1, 2022, Robert Neulander was found guilty, for the second time, of killing his wife.
Neulander’s first defense attorney, Ed Menkin, passed away on March 31, 2022.