Capano, ex-lover were close, doctor says Observers speculate on whether Del. lawyer will testify in killing

December 15, 1998|By Jean Marbella | Jean Marbella,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WILMINGTON, Del. -- His brothers have testified. His former wife, two lovers and any number of friends, acquaintances and fellow prisoners have taken the stand. And in a sense, even a third girlfriend, the one he is charged with killing, has spoken through diary entries and e-mails that have given her posthumous voice.

Yet Thomas Capano himself remains the silent center of his trial as his attorneys wind down their defense. Yesterday, as his prison psychiatrist painted a sympathetic portrait of the man accused of murdering Anne Marie Fahey, the governor's scheduling secretary, courtroom watchers were left to wonder: Will Capano himself take the stand?

"Stay tuned," is all defense attorney Joseph Oteri would say.

As the trial entered its eighth and maybe final week, Capano's testimony could provide a dramatic finish. He alone, perhaps, can explain the details of the horrible, tragic accident that Oteri .. in his opening statement said resulted in Fahey's death.

But, Capano would also face cross-examination by prosecutors, who contend that he killed Fahey in a rage when she tried to break off their three-year affair. Fahey disappeared after dining with Capano on June 27, 1996. Although her body has never been found, Oteri has said Capano admits to having disposed of it at sea after her accidental death in his home.

Yesterday, Dr. Carol Tavani was called by the defense to testify about both Capano, whom she treated in prison, and Fahey, whom she knew only through what she called a "psychological autopsy," the reading of her writings.

She characterized their relationship as warm and nurturing, the exact opposite of the prosecution's picture of Capano as a manipulator who couldn't accept Fahey's rejection.

Tavani, a Delaware neuropsychiatrist, also testified that Capano's brother Gerry might suffer from drug-induced dementia. Gerry Capano, a longtime drug user, has testified that he helped his brother dispose of Fahey's body.

Tavani, who has not examined Gerry Capano, said that his testimony indicates he has long- and short-term memory loss and a tendency to "confabulate," or fill in gaps in his memory with imagined or suggested scenarios.

The psychiatrist also spoke of what she called Capano's deteriorating physical and mental condition since he was arrested and imprisoned in November 1997.

On multiple anti-depressants, Capano had a hard time sleeping and coping with the near isolation of his confinement, and Tavani said she considered having him sent to a psychiatric hospital.

Tavani said that Capano was fighting with his attorneys over the fact that he continued to write his longtime mistress, Deborah MacIntyre, who eventually agreed to testify against him.

He was "beside himself" over the prospect of seeing her in an August court hearing and said he couldn't stand it if she said she wanted nothing more to do with him, Tavani said.

"It was a compulsion. He could not let go of that relationship," Tavani said. "He felt very emotionally tied to her."

Tavani will be cross-examined by the prosecution today.

Pub Date: 12/15/98

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