Rod Covlin – His Wife’s Death and a Recreation of her Bathtub Slaying

Prosecutors recreate banker’s slay — in the same bathtub she was found dead

Rod Covlin, who is accused of murdering his wife in 2009.

Rod Covlin, who is accused of murdering his wife in 2009.

Prosecutors have re-created the murder of a Manhattan banker using a model with a snorkel and weights on her back — and the same bathtub where the victim was found nearly a decade ago.

They hired master diver Andrea Zaferes, who describes herself as a forensic expert with a specialty in bodies-found-in-bathtubs, to stage the scene to try to prove to a jury that Shele Danishefsky’s 2009 death was inconsistent with suicide or an accidental drowning, court papers show.

In the videotaped reconstruction, a female model wearing a snorkel tries to hold various “rigor positions” with her head face-down in the water, while a male model playing the role of alleged homicidal hubby Rod Covlin tries to pick her up.

Covlin’s lawyers are fighting to bar jurors from seeing the footage, arguing that “the experiment” can’t reflect the actual conditions of Danishefsky’s death — because no one truly knows them.

In a motion filed Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court, Covlin lawyer Robert Gottlieb called the reenactment, which was conducted two years after Danishefsky’s death, “junk science.”

“One must suspend reality to believe that the condition in which [Danishefsky] was found unresponsive can be accurately simulated with certainty by a clothed, living, conscious human being who is breathing through a snorkel and intentionally contorting her body,” Gottlieb wrote. “Everything about the video reconstruction is based entirely on guesswork and assumption, not facts.”

Danishefsky’s 9-year-old daughter found her floating face-down in the bathtub on New Year’s Eve morning. At the time, Covlin and Danishefsky were living in separate apartments on the same floor of an Upper East Side building amid a contentious divorce and custody battle over their daughter and 3-year-old son.

After a frantic call from his daughter, Covlin rushed to the apartment, pulled his wife from the water and performed CPR.

He told police that he couldn’t remember her exact position in the tub. Her death was initially ruled an accident, but an autopsy later revealed that she had a broken bone in her neck.

Although Covlin was a longtime suspect in the case, he was only arrested about three years ago — six years after his wife’s death, and two months shy of inheriting half of her $4 million fortune — after allegedly blabbing to his girlfriend about what he’d done.

Prosecutors believe that Danishefsky’s neck may have been broken when Covlin put her in a chokehold, according to the motion.

Covlin has claimed that he had a black belt in Taekwondo and told friends “he could kill someone with one hand,” the filing says.

The prosecution wants to call martial-arts expert Dan Anderson to perform a live demonstration of a strangle-hold for jurors — a move that the defense also is protesting.

Gottlieb says there is no proof that Covlin really was proficient in martial arts and has suggested that Danishefsky accidentally drowned.

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