Thomas Capano

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Thomas J. Capano
Born(1949-10-11)October 11, 1949
DiedSeptember 19, 2011(2011-09-19) (aged 61)
Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware
Occupationattorney, political consultant
Criminal chargeMurder, 1 count
Criminal penaltyDeath, commuted to life imprisonment (without parole)
Criminal statusDeceased
 
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Thomas J. Capano
Born(1949-10-11)October 11, 1949
DiedSeptember 19, 2011(2011-09-19) (aged 61)
Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware
Occupationattorney, political consultant
Criminal chargeMurder, 1 count
Criminal penaltyDeath, commuted to life imprisonment (without parole)
Criminal statusDeceased

Thomas J. Capano (October 11, 1949 – September 19, 2011)[1][2] was a disbarred American lawyer and former Delaware deputy attorney general, who was convicted of the 1996 murder of Anne Marie Fahey, his former lover.

Background[edit]

Capano was a member of a prominent family of Delaware real estate developers and building contractors. He became a wealthy, well-connected lawyer, state prosecutor, Wilmington city attorney, legal counsel to Governor Michael N. Castle, and political consultant, well known in Delaware's political community. In 1994, Capano was a partner at the Wilmington office of Saul Ewing LLP when he became involved with Anne Marie Fahey, who was then age 28 and the appointments secretary to then-Governor Thomas R. Carper. Married with four daughters, Thomas Capano separated from his wife Kay Capano in 1995.[3]

Fahey's disappearance; investigation[edit]

Anne Marie Fahey, the scheduling secretary for Delaware's then-Governor Thomas Carper, was last seen alive on Thursday, June 27, 1996, when she went to dinner with Capano in Philadelphia. Fahey's family reported on June 30, 1996, that she was missing. An extensive investigation concerning her disappearance ensued. That investigation culminated in November 1997, over sixteen months later, in Capano's arrest for her murder. Fahey's body was never found, however, and the State was unable to establish the precise manner by which Fahey died. Capano, who was the last known person to have seen her alive on June 27, 1996, was an early suspect in the investigation by the Wilmington Police. By mid-July 1996, the FBI actively joined in the investigation, and a federal grand jury heard evidence for over a year.[4]

In September 1995, Fahey met Michael Scanlon while she was still involved in the relationship with Capano. After a rocky beginning in her relationship with Scanlon, she fell in love with him.[4] Capano murdered Fahey at the house he rented and, with the assistance of his brother, Gerry, dumped her body in the Atlantic Ocean. Gerry Capano owned a boat and, when it was sold, its two anchors were missing. Detectives suspected the boat's anchors were used to weigh down Fahey's body. On November 8, 1997, Gerry Capano was interviewed by detectives and told them that Thomas had asked for the boat and then admitted to Gerry that he had murdered someone who was attempting to extort him. They went to Stone Harbor, New Jersey, with a large cooler that contained Fahey's body. As this type of cooler is frequently used by fishermen, it was not considered suspicious.[citation needed]

The Capanos went 62 miles (100 km) out to sea and pushed the cooler overboard. However, it floated, even after they shot the cooler. Thomas retrieved the cooler, took the body out, and wrapped the anchor chains around it. Gerry then was asked to help dispose of a blood-stained sofa and carpet in a dumpster, which was managed by another brother, Louis. Subsequently, Thomas ordered Louis to empty the dumpsters; Louis had them emptied out of their regular schedule. The cooler was found on July 4, 1996, by a local fisherman, Ken Chubb.[5]

Investigators did not have a murder weapon or a body, and investigations into Capano's records in buying guns was not revealing. However, Capano's mistress Debby MacIntyre had bought a gun and, when questioned by investigators, admitted to supplying the weapon to Capano.[2]

Trial and appeal[edit]

U.S. Attorney Colm Connolly and Delaware state prosecutor Ferris Wharton were the state's prosecutors, and William Swain Lee was the presiding judge in the highly publicized Superior Court trial. The defense claimed that MacIntyre had burst into Capano's room and, as Capano and MacIntyre were wrestling for the gun, it fired, killing Fahey. On January 17, 1999, the trial resulted in Capano's conviction and he was sentenced 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.[citation needed]

Habeas corpus petition and appeal[edit]

In April 2008, the U.S. District Court reaffirmed Capano's conviction, rejecting a habeas corpus petition filed by Capano.[6] On September 2, 2008, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed this decision, making the only avenue left for review of the conviction to be petition for certiorari to the US Supreme Court. Capano did not file this petition, bringing an end to the case.[7]

Death[edit]

Capano, aged 61, was found dead in his jail cell at 12:34 p.m. on September 19, 2011 by an officer performing a routine security check at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center state prison near Smyrna, Delaware, where Capano was imprisoned.[1][2] The medical examiner said Capano died of sudden cardiac arrest. He also had "atherosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease, and that obesity was a contributing factor in his death".[8]

Portrayals[edit]

Several books were written about the case including And Never Let Her Go: Thomas Capano: The Deadly Seducer by Ann Rule, The Summer Wind: Thomas Capano and the Murder of Anne Marie Fahey by George Anastasia, and Fatal Embrace: The Inside Story of the Thomas Capano/Anne Marie Fahey Murder Case by Chris Barrish and Peter Meyer. In 2001, a television movie based on Rule's book was made, And Never Let Her Go, starring Mark Harmon as Capano and Kathryn Morris as Fahey.[citation needed] In 2012 his story was featured on Behind Mansion Walls.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Barrish, Chris (September 19, 2011). "Tom Capano found dead in prison cell". Delaware Online. 
  2. ^ a b c Barrish, Chris (September 20, 2011). "Thomas Capano found dead in prison cell". Delaware Online. Archived from the original on September 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ Time magazine, November 24, 1997. p. 25
  4. ^ a b Capano v. State, 781 A.2d 556, 582, 2001 WL 980939 (Del. 2001).
  5. ^ Meyer, Peter. Fatal Embrace: The Inside Story Of The Thomas Capano/Anne Marie Fahey Murder Case, St. Martin's True Crime (January 2, 2007), p. 1
  6. ^ Capano v. Carroll, No. 06-58 (Denial of petition filed April 15, 2008)
  7. ^ "". ABC News.[dead link]
  8. ^ "Examiner: Capano died of sudden cardiac arrest". The Star Democrat. September 22, 2011

External links[edit]