Thomas J. Capano

Thomas J. Capano (born 11 October, 1949) is an American lawyer from Wilmington, Delaware, who was convicted of the 1996 murder of Anne Marie Fahey. The case is noteworthy because of Capano's close association with Delaware's political establishment and because Fahey's body was never recovered.

Background

Capano is a member of a prominent family of Delaware land developers and building contractors. He became a wealthy, well-connected lawyer, state prosecutor, and political consultant, well known in Delaware's political community. Capano was a partner at the Wilmington office of the law firm Saul Ewing when he became involved with Fahey, the 30-year-old appointments secretary to Governor Thomas R. Carper (Democrat).

The case

At the time of her death, Fahey had been attempting to end her relationship with the married Capano and had begun seeing another man. Likely as a result, Capano murdered her and, with the assistance of his brother, Jerry Capano, dumped her body in the Atlantic Ocean. The brother owned a boat and, when it was sold, the two anchors were missing. Detectives suspected the boat's anchors were used to weight Fahey's body.

On 8 November 1997, Jerry met with detectives and told police that Thomas had asked for the boat and then admitted to Jerry that he had murdered a person who was attempting to extort him (Tom). They went to Stone Harbor with a large cooler that contained the corpse. As this type of cooler is frequently used by fishermen, it was not considered suspicious.

The Capanos sailed 100km out to sea and pushed the cooler overboard. However, it floated. Despite shooting the cooler, it still floated. Thomas retrieved the cooler, took the body out, and wrapped the anchor chains around the corpse. Jerry then was asked to help dispose of a blood-stained sofa and carpet in a dumpster, which was managed by another brother, Louis. Thomas ordered Louis to empty the dumpsters.

The cooler was found on 4 July 1996 by fisherman Jay Chubb.

Investigators did not have a murder weapon and investigations into Capano's records in buying guns was not revealing. However, Capano's mistress, Debbie McIntyre, had bought a gun and, when questioned by investigators, admitted to supplying the weapon to Thomas.

The Trial

U.S. Attorney Colm Connolly was the state's prosecutor, and William Swain Lee was the presiding judge in the highly-publicised Superior Court case. The defense claimed that McIntyre had burst into Capano's room and, as Capano and McIntyre were wrestling for the gun, it fired, killing Fahey. On 17 January 1999, the trial resulted in Capano's conviction and sentencing to death.

In January 2006, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed Capano's conviction but remanded the case for sentencing because the death penalty was imposed by a non-unanimous jury verdict. In February of that year, the state abandoned its efforts to seek capital punishment for Capano, opting to leave him imprisoned for life without parole. Capano's attorneys stated they would continue to appeal his conviction in federal courts.

In April 2008, the U.S. District Court reaffirmed Capano's conviction, rejecting an appeal made by Capano's lawyers. [ [http://delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080415/NEWS/80415043 The Wilmington News-Journal newspaper] .]

Notes and references

*Wilmington News-Journal. [http://www.delawareonline.com/newsjournal/capano/ Archived news stories about Capano]
*Crime Library. [http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/classics/capano/1.html The Rise and Fall of Thomas Capano]
*CNN.com. [http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/01/11/capano.overturned.ap/index.html Delaware Supreme Court ruling on his appeal]
*Philly.com [http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/states/pennsylvania/counties/bucks_county/13808113.htm Death penalty won't be sought anew for Capano]


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