Del. lawyer testifies mistress shot, killed his former girlfriend Capano admits dumping victim's body into Atlantic Ocean

December 22, 1998|By Jean Marbella | Jean Marbella,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WILMINGTON, Del. -- On the night that Anne Marie Fahey died, Thomas Capano finally testified yesterday, the couple had kicked off their shoes and stretched out in front of the television to watch "ER," two lovers-turned-friends relaxing after a rough week and looking forward to a long weekend.

But what happened next, Capano said, was like something out of a bad TV show: Another lover, Deborah MacIntyre, appeared out of nowhere. And she had a gun.

"Debby," Capano said, "shot Anne Marie."

And so Capano, a prominent, politically connected lawyer, broke 2 1/2 years of silence about June 27, 1996, the night that Fahey, the governor's scheduling secretary and his on-again, off-again lover, was killed.

While he had been expected to blame MacIntyre for the murder, to hear him describe the scene in his own voice was stunning enough to silence what had been a restless, crowded and overheated courtroom. His is, to date, the only version of the death to be offered. Investigators have never recovered Fahey's body -- which Capano admits to dumping in the Atlantic -- or the alleged murder weapon.

Capano himself seemed so cognizant of the potential dramatics of his testimony about that night that he gave the jury a sort of heads-up.

"If you've been bored until now," he told them in mid-afternoon, after he had spent the day talking about his relationship with Fahey, "wait for this."

Indeed, in a deep, well-modulated voice, Capano gave a detailed account of the evening that began with a dinner in a favorite Philadelphia restaurant and ended in an explosion of emotions, gunfire and a baffling cover-up. Capano said he didn't call police or authorities then, and has languished in near solitary confinement since his arrest, to protect himself and MacIntyre -- even though the shooting was "absolutely, positively, I'm certain, accidental."

"It was the most cowardly, horrible thing I've ever done in my life," Capano said of his failure to report the fatal shooting to authorities. "I thought I was a guy with guts. I wasn't."

MacIntyre has previously denied even being at Capano's house that night. After changing her story several times about her relationship with Capano and the purchase of a gun in May 1996, she began cooperating with prosecutors and testified that she had bought the weapon at Capano's request, given it to him and never saw it again. Capano testified otherwise.

"We didn't realize she was there until she started yelling," Capano said of MacIntyre's arrival that night. "She was very upset. She was yelling, 'Who's this? What's this all about? Is this why you couldn't see me?' She was snapping out, why was I there with another woman?"

Meanwhile, he continued, Fahey was muttering that she wasn't going to "put up with garbage like this" and started to preparing to go home.

Instead, MacIntyre suddenly had a gun in her hand and started raving, Capano said.

"If I can't have you, if you want someone prettier younger, I have nothing to live for," he quoted MacIntyre, with whom he had been lTC involved since 1981, as saying. "I might as well kill myself.

"I thought, oh my God, she's going to shoot herself," Capano said. He said he saw MacIntyre raising the gun, and he reached out for her arm to stop her. "As I did that, the shot went off. I couldn't believe it. She couldn't believe it either."

Fahey was motionless on the sofa. "She had been hit on the right side of her head, near her ear," he said.

He and MacIntyre performed CPR on Fahey, but there were no signs of life.

"Now I'm in a state of shock," Capano said. "You have two people in a state of shock and one person who is dead."

Whatever his state of mind, Capano described a scene in which he quickly jumped into action. He estimated that MacIntyre came over around 11: 05 p.m., letting herself in with the key she had to his house. In the next 45 minutes or so, Fahey would be shot, he and MacIntyre would try to save her, MacIntyre would go home and he would deal with the body, drive to Fahey's apartment and make it look like she had been there.

"I did something I'm capable of doing," he said. "I compartmentalized."

After MacIntyre left, he decided to put Fahey's body in a cooler that he had previously bought for his brother Gerry, having rejected another possible container, a big garbage can.

"I couldn't bring myself to do that," he said.

Capano said he put her body in the cooler -- eventually he would also place the gun in there -- and then drove to Fahey's apartment several minutes away.

"I felt as though I had to go to her apartment and bring over the gift and bring over the perishables," he said of the pantsuit and fruit that he had bought for Fahey. In the apartment, he punched *69 on her phone to see if he was the last person she had spoken to. Instead, a man answered, so he hung up. Phone records would show that the *69 call took place at 11: 52 p.m.

Capano's testimony came after a long day of testimony in which he spoke about his affair with Fahey, characterizing it as one that he tried to end several times but resumed at her insistence.

Capano took the stand yesterday with no mention of the problem that caused the proceedings to end early on Thursday, the last day court was in session.

That day, his attorneys requested a private meeting with the judge, outside the presence of prosecutors or the public. His attorneys, who have been engaged in a tug of war with Capano over how to handle his defense, said they could not comment on the nature of that meeting.

Pub Date: 12/22/98

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