By Aman Ali
HAWTHORNE, New York (Reuters) - A lawyer facing a divorce hearing this week bludgeoned his wife to death with a furniture leg and shot his two children in their bed before killing himself at their home in an upscale New York City suburb, police said on Wednesday.
State Police Major Michael Kopy said it appeared Samuel Friedlander, 50, had argued with his wife Amy, 46, before beating her to death in their home in Lewisboro.
Toting a shotgun, he then entered a bedroom and shot his two children Molly, 10, and Gregory, 8, killing them as they lay together in bed. Friedlander next headed down to the basement and shot himself in the head, police said.
Police said the argument started on Monday night and stretched into Tuesday, but the nature of the dispute was unknown. A co-worker called police when the wife failed to show up on Tuesday at a tutoring service she ran in the Lewisboro area.
"She was aware that Mr. and Mrs. Friedlander had been involved in divorce proceedings," Kopy said. "She had not heard from her that day and thought that was unusual."
Lewisboro is a town of roughly 12,000 people located roughly 55 miles north of New York City.
Married in 2000, Friedlander was an attorney in the nearby tony town of Bedford Hills and his wife was a former vice president at Chase Manhattan Bank. The couple was going through a divorce and had been due in court on Thursday.
Friedlander had no history of domestic violence, although police were dispatched to the home in 2006 to respond to what was classified as a "minor" argument between the couple.
Kopy said several friends of Friedlander said he had been acting strange lately but there was no indication he would become violent.
"Mr. Friedlander had been acting irrational," Kopy said, declining to elaborate. "His behavior over the past weeks and months had been inconsistent with his previous behavior."
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Cynthia Johnston)