- The Washington Times - Friday, December 10, 2004

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (AP) — A millionaire investment banker who was bludgeoned to death in his $10 million mansion may have been killed by his estranged wife, a defense attorney suggested yesterday in closing arguments.

Gerald Shargel, the lawyer for Daniel Pelosi, the electrician accused of the 2001 slaying of Theodore Ammon, told jurors the whereabouts of Generosa Ammon on the night of her husband’s death remain unknown. She and Mr. Pelosi were having an affair, and she and her husband were involved in a contentious divorce.

“It was Generosa Ammon, not Danny Pelosi, who was filled with hate and anger,” Mr. Shargel said in closing arguments, asking repeatedly, “Where was Generosa Ammon that night?”

Mrs. Ammon died of cancer last year. She had married Mr. Pelosi three months after her husband was killed in the master bedroom of his mansion by someone who zapped him with a stun gun and then battered his head with a blunt object more than 30 times.

Mr. Pelosi was charged with second-degree murder. If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison.

During the trial, Mr. Pelosi testified that Mrs. Ammon had tried to recruit him to kill her husband.

Mr. Shargel said there was “insufficient proof” to put his client behind bars. “Reasonable doubt in this case cannot be erased,” he said.

Mr. Shargel also credited Mr. Pelosi for taking the witness stand this week to close the defense case. Under withering cross-examination, Mr. Pelosi repeatedly testified that he had nothing to do with the killing.

“That denial, that assertion, was never shaken,” Mr. Shargel said. “There was no retreat, there was no surrender, there was no smoking gun.”

During their six-week case, prosecutors called 40 witnesses, while the defense countered with just nine in six days of testimony.

Prosecutor Janet Albertson’s predominantly circumstantial case included three persons who said Mr. Pelosi, 41, confessed to them that he killed Mr. Ammon on Oct. 21, 2001, while the 52-year-old slept in the bedroom of his East Hampton mansion.

In one of the most dramatic moments of the trial, Mr. Pelosi’s father voluntarily testified for the prosecution that hours after the killing, his son sought his advice on disposing of something so it would never be found.

After Mr. Pelosi and Mrs. Ammon split, he received $2 million in a postnuptial agreement, but nothing in her will after she died.

Mr. Pelosi testified Wednesday that it was Mrs. Ammon who wanted her husband dead. He said that, in a conversation two months before the killing, she “wanted to know if I knew of anyone who would murder her husband, or if I would do it myself.”

He said he disregarded the proposition as idle talk from a woman embroiled in a bitter divorce. “I never in my life wanted the dead man’s money,” he told jurors.

Mr. Pelosi’s defense insists he was about 40 miles away, at his sister’s house, when the slaying happened. Telephone records, as well as testimony from the sister and a niece, place Mr. Pelosi in their home until about 2 a.m.

Authorities say the slaying happened as Mr. Ammon slept between 2:30 and 3 a.m. A defense expert placed the time of death hours earlier.

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