Accused Rabbi's Daughter Testifies
Oct. 18, 2001
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CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) _ The daughter of a rabbi accused of arranging his wife's murder told jurors Wednesday she was on the telephone with her mother just before she was killed.
Rebecca Neulander-Rockoff, who lived in Philadelphia at the time, told jurors that she and her mother talked at least once a day and met at least once a week.
The testimony came in the trial's third day. The prosecution contends that Rabbi Fred Neulander, 60, arranged to have his wife Carol killed so that he could continue an affair with former Philadelphia radio personality Elaine Soncini.
The 45-minute telephone conversation between mother and daughter, which started about 8 p.m., was cut short by visitors to the Neulanders' Cherry Hill home, Neulander-Rockoff testified. She said she heard snippets of the conversation between her mother and the visitors.
Neulander-Rockoff testified that her mother identified one of the visitors as ``the bathroom guy,'' a man who had delivered a package two weeks earlier and asked to use the bathroom.
``It's cold outside. Don't let him stay outside. Have him come in,'' Neulander-Rockoff said she heard her mother say while still on the telephone.
Also testifying Wednesday was Camden County Medical Examiner Robert Segal, who said Carol Neulander was struck at least 12 times _ seven to the back of her head _ by a blunt object on the night of Nov. 1, 1994.
The rabbi was at his synagogue at the time. A few months later, he resigned, citing unspecified moral indiscretions.
Prosecutors said Neulander's wife was likely the victim of a hit man. Last year, private investigator Leonard Jenoff said the rabbi had offered him $30,000 to kill his wife.
Jenoff, who said he came forward because he feared the rabbi might be acquitted, said he and a former roommate, Paul Daniels, beat Carol Neulander to death. Both men pleaded guilty to manslaughter and agreed to testify against Neulander.
The defense has claimed Jenoff is a compulsive liar.
Later Wednesday, the rabbi's former racquetball partner, Myron Levin, testified that Neulander asked him if he could get rid of Carol Neulander or if he ``knew someone.''
Levin said he told Neulander he was crazy to think that way.
``I said, 'You've got a lovely wife, stick with it,''' said Levin, 76, who spent more than two years in federal prison for a food stamp theft scam.