DENVER — A Denver jury needed less than three hours Tuesday to find Robert Feldman guilty of first-degree murder in the 2015 death of his wife, Stacy -- a death that came just hours after she learned he'd cheated on her.
The verdict came shortly before 5 p.m.
Denver District Judge Edward Bronfin immediately held a sentencing hearing despite the fact his only option under Colorado law was to send Feldman to prison for the rest of his life with no possibility of parole.
“This is all because you couldn’t keep your pants zipped and agree to the divorce Stacy wanted," her mother, Dorothy Malman, said during the sentencing hearing. "You are evil.”
“I have been fighting for this for seven years, because my sister deserves to rest in peace," Susan Malman Altman said. "This man has taken seven years from my life, seven years of me being able to live, seven years of being able to be mother to my children, and he’s not taking one more second.”
When Judge Bronfin asked Robert Feldman if he wanted to say anything, he said, simply, "No."
Then the judge turned to Stacy Feldman's family and friends, who filled the benches in one side of the courtroom.
“I can’t turn back time," he said, "and, unfortunately, there’s never any way the legal system or an individual judge can turn back the clock and undo something that has been done. I just want to say to you that you’re in my thoughts and prayers."
With that, the judge sentenced Robert Feldman, and sheriff's deputies placed him in handcuffs and led him out of the courtroom.
Stacy Feldman's death came under mysterious circumstances. Robert Feldman told authorities he returned home to find her unresponsive in the shower, and two forensic pathologists in Denver's Office of the Medical Examiner were unable to determine the cause of death.
Then in 2017, an outside expert who reviewed evidence in the case concluded that Stacy Feldman was beaten and either strangled or suffocated.
Over nine days of trial, the jurors heard testimony about Stacy Feldman's injuries -- including testimony from three pathologists who said they were not convinced she was murdered -- and about Robert Feldman's infidelities and statements he made that they questioned. For instanced, he did not show up to pick up his children from a carnival and until nearly an hour after one of them called him and asked him to come and get them.
The jury needed about as much time to reach the verdict as they'd spent earlier in the day listening to their instructions and two competing narratives: that Feldman beat and killed his wife hours after she learned he’d cheated on her – or she died after an unexplained medical episode following months of failing health and her injuries can be explained by the efforts to revive her. The jury ultimately sided with prosecutors -- and with the outside expert who testified for a full day about Stacy Feldman's injuries.
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That expert, Dr. Bill Smock, was mocked by defense attorney Jeff Pagliuca as a “hired gun” paid to say whatever prosecutors wanted him to.
The jury got the case at 1:50 p.m.
But after the ruling that the cause of Stacy Feldman’s death could not be determined, the investigation of the case languished.
Then police learned that Bob Feldman had cheated on his wife – and that the woman had contacted Stacy Feldman the day she died to tell her.
In a short phone conversation, Stacy Feldman told the woman she was “done with” her husband.
Then, in 2017, Denver investigators and prosecutors shared the case with Smock, who has testified extensively about strangulation and in-custody deaths. He concluded that Stacy Feldman was murdered.
The key is in the many injuries on her body – abrasions and contusions and small hemorrhages in the eyes that are a sign of strangulation, Assistant District Attorney Maggie Conboy asserted.
“Stacy Feldman can’t tell you what happened that day, but her body can,” Conboy said as she began her closing argument late Tuesday morning. “And what it tells you is that she suffered a long, protracted, and horrific beating. This was not from CPR. This is not from pulling her from the tub. This is not from a simple collapse in a shower. What this is, is evidence of a vicious beat-down.”
Conboy accused Robert Feldman of working hard to throw the investigation off – claiming, falsely, that his wife had missed work two days earlier, had been sick for months, and took numerous medications. Conboy accused him of refusing to provide information to the paramedics and firefighters who responded to his 911 call and tried to revive Stacy Feldman – and of being unable to explain what he was doing for long periods of time on the day she died.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Bob Feldman almost got away with murder,” she said. “Almost.”
Pagliuca, the defense attorney, accused prosecutors of dropping the ball by failing to investigate thoroughly and then weaving together a conspiracy without solid evidence.
“We can’t accept gossip and rumor instead of truth,” Pagliuca said in his closing argument. “We can’t engage in speculation instead of examination. We can’t rush to conclusions. We can’t take shortcuts in an investigation. And we can’t put our faith, our faith, in charlatans instead of real doctors who practice real medicine. So, this is a tragedy and not a homicide.”
The last comment was aimed at Smock, who he described as “an opportunist, a narcissist, a person who came into this courtroom with a traveling circus show.”
At the same time, the two doctors entrusted by the City of Denver to investigate the cause of Stacy Feldman’s death classified it as “undetermined” – and have not changed their opinions more than seven years later.
“These injuries are from somebody dragged out of the tub,” he said of Stacy Feldman’s wounds. “These are injuries that aren’t from a beating.”
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As for what Robert Feldman told authorities on the day of the death, Pagliuca said he did the best he could in the midst of the worst situation he’d ever faced – the sudden loss of his wife.
The jurors sided with the prosecution's version of events, and after the verdict at least two stopped outside the courthouse to hug members of Stacy Feldman's family.
Contact 9Wants to Know investigator Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any story: email@example.com or 303-871-1862.
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