• Colorado murder suspect can use dead wife's insurance policy to pay for defense, court rules

    By: Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:
    DENVER -

    A Denver man accused of murdering his wife can legally use the money from her life insurance policy to pay his defense attorney, KDVR reported.

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    Robert Feldman, 55, officially fired his public defender Monday and rehired a private attorney after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled last month he could use the funds he collected from Stacy Feldman's policy, according to The Denver Post.

    The court ruled the law firm was an independent third party that was given the money legally, even though the guardian of his two children argued they should receive the funds, the newspaper reported.

    Robert Feldman was charged with first-degree murder in February 2018 in connection with the strangulation death of Stacy Feldman in 2015, the Post reported. Stacy Feldman was found dead in the couple's shower, but prosecutors said Robert Feldman staged his wife's death to appear she had slipped and fallen, KDVR reported.

    After he was charged, Robert Feldman paid David Kaplan's law firm $550,000 to defend him, using money from his wife's $751,000 life insurance policy, the television station reported.

    The family of Stacy Feldman sued in Colorado Probate Court and won. According to court documents, the attorneys for the Feldmans' children argued that allowing Robert Feldman to use the policy money was a violation of Colorado's "slayer statute," the Post reported. The law prevents someone from feloniously killed another person from benefiting from their estate, the newspaper reported.

    The Probate Court ruled in favor of Robert Feldman's children and ordered the law firm to put the money into a court registry until the criminal trial ended, the Post reported.

    Robert Feldman appealed the decision and the Colorado Supreme Court reversed it, ruling Stacy Feldman's family acted too late to prevent her husband from using the money, KDVR reported.

    "The Probate Court, according to the Supreme Court, can’t freeze the money already given to a third party. If Robert Feldman had the money in his account," criminal defense attorney Dan Recht told the television station. "Probate Court did have jurisdiction to freeze that money but it was already with the law firm.

    Kaplan was rehired as Robert Feldman's attorney Monday. Feldman will be arraigned in October, and a judge scheduled a trial to begin next April, KDVR reported.

     

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