DENVER — A Denver man accused of killing his wife can use more than $500,000 received from her life insurance policy to pay for the lawyers defending him against the murder charge, Colorados highest court ruled on Monday.
The opinion by the Colorado Supreme Court overturned a probate judges ruling that Robert Feldman, 55, who is charged with first-degree murder in the 2015 slaying of his wife, Stacy, was not entitled to the insurance proceeds because of the states “slayer statute.”
That law bars anyone from gaining any financial benefit from anothers estate if they are held criminally responsible for causing the death. However, the higher court ruled that the statute does not apply to a third party — in this case a legal defense team — that is paid for a “legally enforceable obligation.”
Criminal charges were not filed until nearly three years after the womans death, by which time Robert Feldman had been paid $751,910 as the sole beneficiary of his wifes life insurance policy.
The slayer statue, Mondays opinion said, “does not expressly address the question of freezing insurance proceeds until it can be determined … whether the person receiving the payment was entitled to receive it or not.”
Investigators were suspicious of Feldman early on but the medical examiners office initially said it was unable to determine the cause and manner of the 44-year-old womans death.
Investigators ultimately enlisted an outside physician specializing in domestic violence strangulation cases to review the autopsy results. The expert concluded that the victim died from a violent assault and strangulation, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
Feldman, arrested in 2018, gave his attorneys $555,000 from the insurance payout, which was deposited into the law firms account.
The legal guardian of the couples two minor children successfully argued to the probate court that Feldman was not ent