Prosecutor: Clinton neighbor had slay weapon

September 12, 2008 1:14:26 PM PDT
A disbarred lawyer who lived three doors down from the Clintons and was down to $300 in his bank account executed his wife of 30 years to collect her nearly $900,000 life insurance policy, a prosecutor said Friday.Assistant District Attorney Christine O'Connor said Carlos Perez-Olivo's life was in a "downward spiral" when he shot his wife, Peggy, in the back of the head as she dozed in their car during a drive home to Chappaqua on Nov. 18, 2006.

Defense attorney Christopher McClure said outside court that "he knows (Perez-Olivo's) friends and family support him wholeheartedly." The couple's three grown children were not in court Friday.

Perez-Olivo had been disbarred three months earlier for misconduct in his representation of criminal clients and was down to $300 in his bank accounts, O'Connor said. She implied that a $900,000 life insurance policy was surprising for a 55-year-old schoolteacher earning less than $30,000 a year.

The prosecutor said Perez-Olivo took an odd route home from their night out in Manhattan so he could commit the killing near Echo Lake in New Castle and ditch the weapon there. A Walther PPK was found in the lake four days after the killing.

O'Connor said Perez-Olivo pulled the car over, moved into the back seat, put the gun to his wife's head as she slept and fired once.

"This was an execution," she said.

He then fired twice more inside the car and shot himself in the abdomen, superficially, outside the car, the prosecutor said.

McClure repeated the account Perez-Olivo had given police: A stranger forced him off the road and invaded the car, and the gun went off three times as Perez-Olivo tried to disarm him.

The defense attorney said his client was a victim, not an assailant. He told jurors that the forensic and ballistic evidence is "inconsistent with the tale the prosecution will tell ... a fairy tale involving only one victim."

McClure said the police investigation was conducted incompetently by "inexperienced detectives in way over their head." Perez-Olivo's 911 call was poorly handled, he said, with no officers being sent to the scene or to help the couple.

The result, he said, is that "the real villain in this crime will never be apprehended."

Perez-Olivo no longer rents the house on the cul-de-sac where Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton live in Chappaqua, a New York City suburb.

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