Wife charged in murder case, 21 years later

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(CNN) — A 21-year-old murder mystery is finally getting some clarity.

Roslyn Pilmar, 60, and her brother Evan Wald, 43, were indicted Tuesday for the murder of her husband, Howard Pilmar, inside his New York business.

“In 1996, this murder shocked New Yorkers, mystified law enforcement, and the killers eluded justice,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement.

On March 21, 1996, 40-year-old Howard Pilmar was stabbed and slashed more than 25 times at his office on East 33rd Street, according to the district attorney’s statement. The victim’s body was found the next morning by the company’s controller.

Prosecutors explained that Roslyn Pilmar had a lot to gain financially from her husband’s death.

She was a manager for the coffee shops started by her husband inside his office supply stores. In early 1996, before Howard’s death, Roslyn Pilmar’s former employer, a dentist’s office, demanded reimbursement of approximately $200,000 it claimed she had stolen from the business.

After her husband’s death, Pilmar received around $1.5 million in life insurance benefits, according to the district attorney. She also received ownership of Howard Pilmar’s businesses, two homes and custody of the couple’s then 10-year-old son.

On April 30, 1999, she pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the second degree for the theft from her former employer. After paying back the stolen funds, she was sentenced to probation.

But now, new witnesses and evidence, including blood matching Evan Wald, was found at the crime scene and led to the indictment, according to Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Lederer.

“[I]n the more than two decades that have passed since Howard Pilmar was brutally stabbed to death, prosecutors in my office’s Cold Case Unit and NYPD detectives never forgot this shocking crime. I thank them for their dedication, and hope that this prosecution will bring closure to Mr. Pilmar’s loved ones,” Vance said.

Caitlyn Fowles, deputy press secretary of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, said Roslyn Pilmar had her initial appearance in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday. She was arraigned and pleaded not guilty. Bail was addressed but Pilmar was remanded into custody with no bail set.

Wald was arrested in Virginia and will have to be extradited to New York, according to Fowles. He has not been arraigned yet.

Fran Hoffinger, Roslyn Pilmar’s attorney, told CNN it is “a 21-year-old case, and that says a lot,” and added that her client’s next court appearance will take place next Wednesday.

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