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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A law protecting married couples' conversations as confidential doesn't apply to a convicted killer whose husband testified at trial about incriminating statements she made, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a love-triangle murder case.
Sheila Davalloo, 46, formerly of Pleasantville, New York, tried to prevent her husband from testifying at her trial in 2012, citing the marital communications privilege in state law. But a judge allowed his testimony and a jury convicted her of murder in the death of 32-year-old Anna-Lisa Raymundo in 2002.
Raymundo was beaten and stabbed nearly 20 times in her Stamford condominium. Prosecutors said Davalloo killed Raymundo because she was in a sexual relationship with Raymundo's boyfriend, Nelson Sessler, and wanted him all to herself. The three worked together at Stamford-based pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma.
Davalloo appealed to the Supreme Court after the state Appellate Court upheld her conviction.
The 7-0 ruling released Thursday said the Supreme Court concluded that Davalloo's self-incriminating statements to her husband were not confidential because they were not "induced by the affection, confidence, loyalty and integrity of the marital relationship," as required by state law.
Raymundo's relatives and Davalloo's public defender, Mark Rademacher, did not immediately return messages seeking comment Thursday.
Davalloo's husband, Paul Christos, testified during his wife's murder trial that she frequently told him stories about a friend, "Melissa," and the intimate details of Melissa's workplace love triangle with "Jack" and "Anna Lisa." Prosecutors said "Melissa" was really Davalloo, "Jack" was Sessler and "Anna Lisa" was Raymundo.
Christos also said 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. Authorities believe Raymundo let Davalloo into her condo just before she was killed.
State prosecutor Timothy Sugrue said that while there is some gray area on confidential marital communications in state law, he believed it was clear that Davalloo's comments to her husband were not protected. For example, he said marital communications are confidential if the spouses are talking about themselves or their marriage.
"I'm glad for the families that it's over," he said of the murder case. "This will bring a long, drawn-out process to a close."
Rademacher, Davalloo's public defender, argued in court documents that his client's comments to her husband were "induced by the affection ... of the marital relationship" because she was admitting adultery to him. Sugrue disagreed, saying Davalloo essentially was enlisting her husband's help.
Davalloo was identified as a suspect in Raymundo's murder after being arrested for stabbing Christos four months later at their home in Pleasantville.
Police said Davalloo persuaded Christos to play a game in which she handcuffed and blindfolded him and asked him to guess what she was touching him with. She then stabbed him with a paring knife, but he survived.
Davalloo was convicted of attempted murder in the stabbing of her husband and sentenced to 25 years in prison. She will serve the 50-year prison sentence she received for Raymundo's murder after she completes the New York sentence.
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