(JTA) — Dr. Robert Neulander, a prominent physician and Jewish lay leader in Syracuse, N.Y., was found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2012 death of his wife.
An Onondaga County Court jury issued its verdict on Thursday morning following 18 hours of deliberation, Syracuse.com reported. Neulander also was convicted of tampering with evidence.
Neulander will be held without bail until a May 1 sentencing and faces 25 years to life in prison. His attorney said he plans to appeal.
Both Neulander and his late wife, Leslie, were active in the Syracuse Jewish community.
As the verdict was read, Neulander looked straight ahead and his children cried, according to Syracuse.com.
His daughter Jenna, who testified for the defense, said, “I was there. You didn’t do it” and “We will get you out” after Neulander was handcuffed.
While Leslie’s death was initially ruled an accident, officials later accused Neulander of killing her in a fit of rage and then staging the scene to make it look like she slipped and fell in the shower. Neulander and his attorneys, insisting that he was innocent, said he had no motive for harming his wife.
Even prior to the trial, Neulander, an obstetrician, already was well known in the local community, where he reportedly has delivered more than 10,000 babies. He was active in both secular and Jewish charities. In the Jewish community, the couple chaired the Jewish Federation of Central New York’s annual campaign in 2012, and Leslie chaired fundraising events at the Syracuse Hebrew Day School, which their children had attended.
The Neulanders’ four children and Leslie’s siblings stood by Neulander throughout the trial and insisted he was innocent. Two of the children testified on his behalf.