FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man was convicted of murder Thursday for bludgeoning his wife with a frying pan then strangling her, apparently after they argued over the dire state of their finances.
Former securities salesman Patrick Allen had been trying to hide the family's financial difficulties from his wife, Kimberly, before the argument that led to her death in 2011, prosecutors said.
Allen, 47, of Middletown, had been concealing the fact that they were about to lose their home to foreclosure, prosecutors said. He also had more than $600,000 in debt, between two mortgages on the family's house and $25,000 in credit card debt, they said.
Prosecutors claimed an argument ensued when his wife learned of the situation and Allen killed her while the couple's two children were at school.
Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Maria Franceschini said she was pleased with the verdict. "It's been a long trial," she said.
In her closing statement Wednesday, she picked up the frying pan wrapped in plastic and swung it to show jurors how Allen struck his wife over the head. She then showed jurors autopsy photos showing the result of Kimberly Allen being struck by the frying pan.
Allen's attorney argued his client was about to come into some money that would have held off the foreclosure. He also claimed a mistrial should have been declared in the case because prosecutors on the eve of trial said they would not use interview footage of Allen, but changed their minds mid-trial and showed the footage to jurors. The lawyer said he would consult with his client about a possible appeal.
The victim's sister, Barbara Stauff, held back tears as she thanked jurors and prosecutors for "countless hours over the past three years" analyzing the evidence, The Asbury Park Press (http://on.app.com/1CJoC5O) reported.
Allen was convicted of first-degree murder and other counts. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 29.