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Jury Convicts Brothers Of Murder

June 18, 1986

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) _ Two millionaire brothers could face the death penalty after being convicted of hiring someone to murder one brother’s former wife.

William and Herbert Engel were convicted Tuesday of murder and conspiracy in the strangulation of William’s ex-wife, Xiomara Alvarez Engel. The same jury will begin deliberating Monday whether the brothers should be sentenced to death by lethal injection or life imprisonment.

James McFadden, a driver for Herbert Engel’s Paterson trucking company, admitted strangling Mrs. Engel on Dec. 13, 1984, in William Engel’s warehouse in Englewood. Her body was found in a burning car near Olanta, S.C., the next day.

He testified the brothers offered him $25,000 to commit the crime.

Prosecutors have agreed not to seek the death penalty for McFadden, who pleaded guilty to murder.

Prosecutors contended William Engel arranged to have his former wife killed because he was enraged that she was dating a lawyer two months after she had their marriage annulled.

Defense attorneys repeatedly attacked McFadden’s credibility during the month-long trial. Miles Feinstein, William Engel’s lawyer, said McFadden had been promised leniency by prosecutors in exchange for his testimony against the Engels, and he called the witness ″an admitted liar.″

″We’re going to move ahead and try to save their lives,″ said Feinstein.

Feinstein and Herbert Engel’s attorney, Joseph Afflitto, had said throughout the trial that the brothers represented the American dream.

Bergen County Prosecutor Larry J. McClure said the verdict shows that ″the American dream does not involve murder.″

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