DENVER — The death of Stacy Feldman was staged to look like an accidental death according to a police surgeon who testified at a preliminary hearing Tuesday morning against the victim’s husband Robert Feldman.
Dr. William Smock is a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Louisville who works on homicide investigations for the Louisville Metro Government in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Denver District Attorney’s office has charged 53-year -old Robert Feldman with first-degree murder for the strangulation death of his wife.
Feldman claimed to have found his wife unresponsive in the couple’s shower on the afternoon of March 1, 2015.
An autopsy report originally ruled the cause of death as “Undetermined.” But in February, Denver detectives arrested Feldman after seeking a second opinion by Smock who wrote in his report that Stacy’s “injuries are the result of an assault, which included blunt force trauma, strangulation and suffocation.”
Feldman’s defense attorney objected to Smock’s testimony because he is not a forensic pathologist who can sign autopsy reports. But the judge ruled Smock is qualified to give expert opinion on the cause of death based on his professional history.
On the stand, Smock told the judge it appeared Stacy Feldman had been strangled to death with her clothes on and then stripped naked and placed in a shower/bathtub where her husband claimed to have found her unconscious.
Smock based his opinion on more than 80 injuries to her body plus hemorrhaging in the victim’s eyes and blood that had pooled above her neck, known as venous congestion.
Smock noted there were some impressions on her body that left him convinced she was wearing clothes when she was strangled and he noticed she was still wearing a watch on her left wrist, testifying that most people don’t shower while wearing their watch.
When asked if Stacy likely suffered before she died, Smock replied, “Yes ma’am” to the prosecutor, adding that her injuries were in no way consistent with a slip and fall in the tub and that none of her injuries could’ve been the result of a CPR compression, supposedly performed by her husband after he found her dead.
Robert Feldman told police his wife had ingested marijuana edible the days before she died but Smock said her toxicology results showed drug use was not a factor in her death.
He says bruising on her body led him to believe that Robert Feldman might’ve placed his knees on her body and arms to hold her down and that he could’ve rendered her unconscious in 5 to 10 seconds and that she would’ve stopped breathing in one to two and half minutes.
A Denver police detective is expected to testify Tuesday afternoon that Stacy Feldman learned on the day she died that her husband had an affair
Court records indicate the lead detective suspected foul play from the beginning because Feldman appeared to be “overacting in an effort to avoid speaking with him” when the detective tried to question him about his wife’s death soon after responding to Feldman’s 911 call.
Denver firefighters from Engine 22 said they found Feldman to be “over-dramatic” and “purposely not cooperative” to the point they had to request police assistance because he was yelling and wailing and getting so close to his wife that he was interfering with medic duties.
Feldman repeatedly told police his wife had ingested marijuana edibles the night before she died, but there was no trace in her body at the time of the autopsy, which Feldman said he didn’t want performed.
In addition, Feldman’s whereabouts on the day of Stacy Feldman’s death could not be easily explained.
Stacy Feldman was supposed to pick up the couple’s two children from Religious School at Temple Sinai at noon.
When she failed to show up, a teacher called Stacy Feldman and Robert Feldman.
Stacy Feldman didn’t respond, but Robert Feldman told his daughter he would be there shortly.
When he didn’t show up by 12:45 p.m., the teacher called him again and this time he said he thought a family friend was bringing the children home.
On March 24, 2015, detectives received an anonymous letter raising concerns about Stacy Feldman’s death, according to the affidavit.
It said she had been texting a friend on the morning of her death about plans to pick up the children from school at noon.
When Robert Feldman finally showed up at 1:05 p.m., the teacher told police his behavior had been odd.
On June 11, 2015, police received a call to the Metro Denver Crime Stoppers tip line.
The female caller told police that she had met Robert Feldman in February 2015 through the online dating site Tinder.
She said she met Feldman for coffee on Feb. 23, 2015, and he was reluctant to share his last name but eventually told her it was “Wolfe” not Feldman and that he was divorced.
She said Feldman came to her house for dinner on Feb. 256 and they had sex that night.
After that encounter, she told police that Feldman blew her off so she researched him online and discovered he was likely married to Stacy Feldman.
The female tipster told police that she emailed Stacy Feldman on the morning of March 1, 2015, the date of Stacy Feldman’s death, and asked if she and Robert were divorced.
Stacy Feldman told the woman that she and Robert Feldman were not divorced.
The woman then told Stacy Feldman about what had occurred between her and Robert Feldman.
According to the affidavit, Stacy Feldman told the woman that Robert Feldman had cheated on her before and that she was “done with him.”
In July 2015, detectives learned American General Life Insurance had paid a $750,000 claim to Robert Feldman for a life insurance policy on his wife that had been purchased in 2010.
The insurance company said it had no record of a policy on Robert Feldman.
A week later, on July 23, 2015, police reviewed the 911 call made by Robert Feldman.
Detectives say they could hear a toilet being flushed and statements that could be considered “guilty indicators” made by Robert Feldman.
Despite the 911 caller giving Robert Feldman instructions on how to perform CPR, detectives heard no changes in respiration or any other indicators that Feldman was performing CPR.