Death on a Spring Day: A savage murder, a bungled investigation, a killer who is never caught. Forty years later, DNA evidence clears the prime suspect. So who killed Jean Welch?
For the Love of God: The seven-year-old had been beaten to death by his own mother. His crime? Failing to memorize a religious text.
Cabin 28: It was a massacre, committed in a small cabin in a backwoods town. The police should have brought the killer to justice. So why didn’t they?
Happy Never After: Sex, Satanism and murder are the themes of this startling tale involving a group of teachers at an exclusive high school.
Mixed Blessings: When mutilated body parts turn up on a dockside in New Jersey, the hunt is on to find a killer. The case will take some unexpected twists.
The Horrible Death of Red-Hot Carla: Porn star Carla was dead, her once beautiful face obliterated by four bullets. She had left behind a note naming her killer.
Murder in the Playroom: Culture dictated that Rahan’s wife should obey him in everything. Imagine his response when he heard rumors that she was having an affair.
Click the "Read More" link below to read the first chapter of
Murder Most Vile Volume 27
Thomas J. Capano had lived a gilded life. His father, Louis Capano, was a highly successful building contractor and real estate developer, and Thomas had grown up never wanting for anything. After graduating high school, he’d attended college and then law school, obtaining a law degree. Thereafter, he’d returned to his home state of Delaware where his unbroken run of success showed no sign of slowing down. He became a high-profile, well-connected lawyer, a state prosecutor, a partner in one of the state’s most prominent law firms, counsel to Governor Michael N. Castle, a power broker in Delaware politics. He was also a control freak and a serial philanderer. Married and the father of four daughters, Capano nonetheless kept a string of mistresses on call. In 1996, one of them was Anne Marie Fahey, the appointments secretary to then-Governor Thomas R. Carper.
Anne Marie was an attractive woman, tall, elegant and blue-eyed, with a mop of curly brunette hair. Yet despite her looks and the successful career that she had carved out for herself, despite her outwardly vivacious nature, she was deeply insecure. That made her an easy mark for a predator like Thomas Capano. Within weeks of their first meeting in 1994, he had seduced her. Not long after that, she recorded in her diary that she was in love with him. It was a flame that would flicker only briefly before Anne Marie learned the true nature of the man she had fallen for. Capano was a jealous and extremely possessive individual. It was okay for him to flit from one mistress to another, but he expected absolute loyalty from her. He also expected her to be at his beck and call.
By September 1995, Anne Marie had grown tired of being Tom Capano’s plaything. That was the month that she agreed to go on a blind date with a man named Michael Scanlon, at that time the community affairs chief of MBNA America Bank. Scanlon was handsome, he was charming, he was closer to her own age and, most importantly, he was single. Before long, Anne Marie had fallen for him and they started dating.
But Thomas Capano was not about to let Anne Marie walk out on him that easily. Their affair would be over when he said it was, not before. He continued to exert control over her, bending her to his will by preying on her insecurities, by alternately cajoling and threatening, by all but stalking her. Anne Marie endured this situation for months, until June 1996, when she finally summoned the courage to tell Capano that it was over. He accepted her decision with apparent good grace, asking only that she join him for one last dinner, at his favorite Italian restaurant, Ristorante Panorama in Philadelphia. The date was June 27, 1996, and the couple were seen together at the restaurant that night, leaving at around 9:30. Anne Marie Fahey was never seen alive again.
Anne Marie’s disappearance was not noticed until two days later, when she failed to keep a dinner date with Michael Scanlon. Her family then went to her apartment on Washington Street in Wilmington. They found it orderly but empty. They also found her diary, in which she had made a note of her dinner date with Capano. In the same entry, she had described Capano as a “jealous maniac.”
The following day, June 30, Wilmington Police officers arrived at Thomas Capano’s house to question him regarding Anne Marie’s disappearance. Capano seemed shocked at the news but was nonetheless cooperative, even allowing the officers to search his house and car without a warrant. He admitted to dining with Anne Marie on the night she went missing but insisted that he’d driven her straight home. He had gone up to her apartment for only a few minutes, he said, to have a look at her faulty air conditioner. He’d left at around ten and had not seen her since. Neither did he have any idea where she might be. The police had no reason to disbelieve his version of events.
But already, the case was causing a stir. There were rumors that Capano had been stalking Anne Marie, threatening her. Those rumors, apparently, reached much further than Wilmington. On July 5, President Bill Clinton called Delaware Governor Carper and offered the FBI’s help in the search for Anne Marie. Meanwhile, Thomas Capano, annoyed at another police search of his home, was lawyering up, appointing former Delaware Attorney General Charles M. Oberly III to represent him.
That was probably a good thing because the FBI had been checking Capano’s credit card records and had uncovered an interesting anomaly. On June 29, Capano had purchased a carpet. Nothing unusual in that except that Capano had by now separated from his wife and was living in rented accommodation. Why would he buy a carpet for a furnished apartment that he was only renting? The answer may have been in testimony obtained from the Capanos’ maid. She testified that a carpet and love seat at the family home had recently been replaced.
And the circumstantial evidence against Capano kept stacking up. The Feds learned from an employee of the family construction business that he had been ordered by Capano’s brother, Louis Jr., to haul away a half-filled dumpster on July 1. The dumpster had contained a carpet and a love seat. Another piece of the puzzle fell into place when it was discovered that Capano’s youngest brother, Gerard, had sold his fishing boat at around the time, offering the buyer a discount as the boat was missing its anchor.
From all of these disparate snippets of information, the FBI was starting to put together a picture of what had happened to Anne Marie Fahey. They believed that Capano had driven her back to his home after dinner. There, he’d shot her, wrapped her in a carpet and driven her to his brother’s fishing boat. Anne Marie’s body was then transported to a spot off the coast where it was thrown overboard, weighed down by the boat’s anchor. It seemed a likely theory. But could they prove it?
On July 31, investigators, led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Colm F. Connolly, carried out an 11-hour search of Capano’s home and turned up their most valuable clue yet, two spots of blood which would later be forensically matched to Anne Marie Fahey. That was enough to haul Capano before a federal grand jury, but still he refused to admit to anything. It was only when the Feds turned their spotlight on the lesser players in the drama that they began to make progress in the case.
The first to crack was Gerard Capano, Tom’s youngest brother and alibi witness. On November 8, he showed up with his attorney at the FBI offices and said that he had information to share. According to him, he had helped Thomas dump a body off Stone Harbor on June 28, 1996. Gerard said that the body had first been tossed into the ocean inside a large cooler box. However, the plastic container had stubbornly refused to sink, even when perforated by a couple of blasts from a shotgun. Tom Capano had then hauled the box back on board, removed the body and weighed it down with the ship’s anchor. It had then been thrown back overboard, sinking almost immediately.
According to Gerard, he had not participated in the impromptu burial and could not even bring himself to look at the young woman’s body. He did, however, admit that he had helped Thomas dispose of a blood-stained sofa in a dumpster at Louis Capano’s construction site. Louis would confirm this two days later, when he showed up with his own attorney. He also confessed that he had ordered the removal of the dumpster with the bloodied sofa inside.
Thomas Capano’s inner circle had now turned on him, implicating him in the death of Anne Marie Fahey. Despite the absence of a body or murder weapon, he was arrested on November 12 and charged with murder. The following day, the police received another boost to their case when a fisherman handed over a plastic cooler box, perforated by shotgun pellets. According to the man, he had found the box floating in the Atlantic in early July 1996.
On December 22, a New Castle County grand jury handed down a murder indictment against Thomas Capano, and on January 8, 1997, he answered that indictment with a not guilty plea. Meanwhile, the evidence continued to stack up against him. Prosecutors had been desperate to locate the murder weapon, and while they had been unsuccessful in doing so, they had the next best thing on February 4. That was the day that Deborah MacIntyre, another of Capano’s mistresses, told police that she had bought a .22-caliber Beretta pistol for him on May 15, 1996 – six weeks before Anne Marie Fahey went missing. Investigators were prepared to venture that the weapon was currently at the bottom of the ocean, but this nonetheless was a vital piece of evidence, since it put the potential murder weapon in Capano’s hands.
Thomas Capano went on trial for murder on October 6, 1997. He had assembled at team of four stellar attorneys to represent him, led by eminent Boston litigator, Joseph Oteri, and dubbed by the media as the “Dream Team.” However, Capano would prove to be a problematic client, fighting his legal counsel every step of the way. It started as early as jury selection, where Oteri wanted to exclude young women who he felt might identify with the victim. Capano, however, insisted on including them, since he was convinced that he could charm them. That says a lot about the narcissistic character of the man, but the real bombshell was still to come.
On October 26, Oteri stunned the courtroom with his opening statement, admitting that Capano had dumped Anne Marie Fahey’s body at sea. However, he claimed that her death had been an accident. According to this convoluted version of events, it was Capano’s mistress, Deborah MacIntyre, who had shot Anne Marie. MacIntyre had apparently arrived at Capano’s home while he was there with Anne Marie and had attacked her rival in a fit of jealous rage. The two had struggled for the gun, which had discharged, hitting Anne Marie in the head and killing her. Capano had disposed of the body in order to protect his lover and his reputation.
That was just the opening salvo in a case that seldom failed to produce fireworks. Capano clashed frequently with prosecutor Colm Connolly and also with his defense team who he threatened to fire at every turn. In the end, however, it was the prosecution’s version of events that the jury chose to believe. This was the culmination of some exceptional investigative work by the FBI, and it painted a compelling picture of what had happened to Anne Marie Fahey.
This version held that Capano had been furious over Anne Marie’s relationship with Michael Scanlon and her refusal to break it off. He’d decided that if she would not come back to him, he was going to kill her and had convinced Deborah MacIntyre to buy the gun for him for that purpose. The dinner on June 27, 1996, had been Anne Marie’s last chance to comply. When she still refused to rekindle their relationship, she unwittingly sealed her own fate. Anne Marie was driven back to Capano’s house on some pretense. There she was shot to death and her body wrapped in a carpet. Later, she was crammed into the plastic cooler box and loaded onto Gerard Capano’s fishing boat. She was then taken some 60 miles out to sea and committed to a watery grave. Later, Capano’s other brother, Louis, assisted with the cleanup by getting rid of the bloodstained carpet and love seat.
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