HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A woman's conviction for killing a rival for her lover's affection came before Connecticut's Supreme Court on Wednesday in a case that tests the legal limits of the confidentiality of a conversation between a married couple.
The court heard arguments in the appeal of Sheila Davalloo, who was convicted of beating and stabbing Anna-Lisa Raymundo, 32, nearly 20 times in her Stamford condominium in November 2002.
Prosecutors said Davalloo killed Raymundo because both women had been in a sexual relationship with Raymundo's boyfriend, Nelson Sessler. The three worked together at Stamford-based pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma.
Davalloo's laywers argue that the trial court should not have allowed her husband, Paul Christos, to testify about incriminating statements she made to him.
Davalloo was identified as a suspect in Raymundo's murder after being arrested for stabbing Christos four months later.
Police said Davalloo had convinced Christos to play a game in which she handcuffed and blindfolded him and asked him to guess what she was touching him with. He was then stabbed with a paring knife.
Christos testified during his wife's murder trial that she had frequently told him stories about a friend, "Melissa," and the intimate details of Melissa's workplace love triangle with "Jack" and "Anna Lisa."
He also told authorities that he lent his wife night-vision binoculars and an eavesdropping device so she could help "Melissa" spy on "Jack." He testified that she had a lock-picking kit and had practiced picking locks at home.
The state Appellate Court found that the spousal privilege did not apply in Davalloo's case because the conversations with her husband were not "induced by affection, as required by the law."
Instead, the court ruled, they were made to deceive him, further her obsessive relationship with Sessler, and induce her husband "to assist in his own demise."
Davalloo's lawyers sought to bar that evidence, arguing that the marital privilege applies even when a marriage is "bad."
Davalloo is expected to begin serving her 50-year sentence in Connecticut after she finishes a 25-year sentence in New York for the attempted murder of her husband.