Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Top New York Jewish attorney bludgeoned wife, shot their 2 kids, himself in murder-suicide
Children: Gregory and Molly Friedlander - who were also killed - in an igloo their father, Sam, built for them in early 2010
A wealthy attorney who was found dead at his suburban home shot his two young children while they slept before bludgeoning his wife to death and then turning the gun on himself, police say.
Sam Friedlander, 50, was said to be going through a 'nasty and bitter divorce' from his wife Amy, 46, a former vice president of Chase Manhattan bank who had just started a tutoring business in the close-knit community of Westchester, New York.
Police say that Mr Friedlander - who neighbours called a 'devoted father' - shot his children, eight-year-old Gregory and ten-year-old Molly, in the torso with a 12-gauge shotgun while they slept in their bed.
There was no sign of struggle. They were wearing pyjamas, and had been covered up again with blankets after being shot.
Amy Friedlander was found dead on her side on the floor of the master bedroom.
She was not shot and likely bludgeoned to death, police said, noting the broken-off leg of a chair was found nearby.
Mr Friedlander then went to the basement of their affluent four-bedroom home and shot himself, according to authorities.
The couple were expected in court tomorrow for a divorce hearing.
The crime scene was said to be so gruesome and bloody, it took a while to determine exactly what had happened.
Mr Friedlander was an associate counsel of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in Manhattan.
Police had been alerted to the home by his wife's business partner who was worried because she knew about the divorce and hadn't heard from Amy.
According to Chappaqua-Mount Kisco Patch, though he had no history of violence or mental illness, those close to him noticed a change in his behaviour recently.
They do not know where he got the murder weapon from.
The Lewisboro school district said the children attended the elementary school.
A neighbour said that the couple was in the midst of a nasty and bitter divorce.
Police said there were no reports of domestic violence at the residence but that they were called there once in 2006 over an argument about the children.
Abid Hussain, who lives near the Friedlanders, said the parents were devoted to their children.
I used to see the mom and father putting them on the bus, they had beautiful kids,' he told The Post. 'The father was always playing with the kids outside.
People are traumatised that this could happen in our perfect neighbourhood.
Their house was placed on the market a few months ago for an asking price of almost $800,000.
The neighbourhood, called Michelle Estates, was developed by financier Carl Icahn and has homes valued at around $800,000 to $1 million, the Journal News reported
Town Supervisor Charles Duffy said grief counsellors and social workers would be on-hand on Wednesday to help any students at the school.
He said: 'It’s a tragedy for the community. The best we can do is support our children and help them through this.
They’ll need it when something like this happens in a tight-knit community. We have to hug them a little tighter tonight.