Thomas Capano, a once-prominent Delaware attorney who was convicted of killing his mistress after a dramatic trial more than 12 years ago, has been found dead in his prison cell.
Capano, 61, apparently died of natural causes. He was found unresponsive Monday afternoon at 12:34 in his cell at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna and later was pronounced dead. As part of the Deparment of Correction’s standard procedures, his body has been turned over to the State Medical Examiner’s Office. Foul play is not suspected.
Capano was the last person seen alive with Anne Marie Fahey. They had dinner at a Philadelphia restaurant in June, 1996. The 30-year-old scheduling secretary to then-Governor Thomas Carper was the subject of a community-wide search for several weeks. Capano, meanwhile, became a center of the investigation.
Fahey’s apartment and Capano’s home were extensively searched, but it was more than a year before Capano was arrested and charged with killing Fahey. Before his arrest, Capano’s brother Gerard Capano told investigators he helped his brother dump a body from a boat off the Jersey shore.
Nearly a year after his indictment, Thomas Capano went on trial in the fall of 1998. The prosecution called a downstate Delaware fisherman to the stand, who testified that he found a cooler floating at sea and kept it for his own use. That cooler was presented as evidence to the stunned jury.
Capano tried to pin Fahey’s death on another lover. However, in January 1999 the jury found Capano guilty of murder. Shortly after that, now-retired Superior Court Judge Bill Lee sentenced Capano to death. Years later, Capano was removed from death row based on questions about whether a jury or a judge should have the final say on a death sentence.
Fahey was the appointments secretary for then Governor Tom Carper at the time of her death. His Senate office released this statement:
“Tom Capano’s death does not change the fact that Anne Marie was taken from us far too soon. Sadly, nothing will ever bring her back to her family and to those of us who knew and deeply admired her. She was one of the loveliest, kindest persons I’ve ever had the privilege of serving with. We miss her still and will never forget her. My thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.”
The spectacular trial resulted in a television movie and several books.