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Sheila DAVALLOO

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Love triangle
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: November 8, 2002
Date of arrest: November 6, 2007
Date of birth: May 11, 1969
Victim profile: Anna Lisa Raymundo (her former lover's girlfriend)
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Stamford, Connecticut, USA
Status: Sentenced to 25 years in prison on February 19, 2004. Sentenced to 50 years in prison on April 26, 2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sheila Davalloo is an Iranian-American woman was a pharmaceutical researcher who is serving 25 years at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women after being convicted in 2004 of the attempted murder and first degree assault in the 2003 stabbing of her husband, Paul Christos, at their Pleasantville, New York condominium.

In 2012, she was convicted of first degree murder in the 2002 stabbing death of her romantic rival, Anna Lisa Raymundo, at her Stamford, Connecticut home. She was sentenced to 50 years in prison for that offense.

Early life

Sheila Davalloo was born on May 11, 1969 in Iran. Her family emigrated to the United States in the mid-1970s. Sheila attended SUNY Stony Brook and earned a biochemistry degree. She married her first husband, Farid Moussavi, who filed for divorce when he learned she was carrying an affair with Paul Christos, whom she met while she was attending graduate school at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York. After getting her degree, Sheila took a job at Purdue Pharma in Stanford, Connecticut as a research scientist.

Attempted murder of husband

On March 23, 2003, Sheila Davalloo stabbed her husband Paul Christos twice with a paring knife inside the couple's Pleasantville, New York condominium. At the time of the stabbing, Sheila and Paul were partaking in a sex game in which Paul was blindfolded and handcuffed to a chair, and Sheila was touching him with objects.

After the stabbing, Sheila stalled in getting medical attention for her husband. When she finally drove her husband to the Westchester County Medical Center, she tried to stab him again. The following day, she was charged with attempted murder, assault, and criminal possession of a weapon.

On February 19, 2004, Sheila, whose defense was that she was emotionally troubled and never meant to hurt her husband, was convicted of attempted murder after a non-jury trial. Prosecutors had argued that Sheila wanted Paul Christos dead so she could be with her lover and co-worker at Purdue Pharma, Nelson Sessler. They also alleged that Sheila's desire to be with Nelson Sessler could have led her to commit the November 2002 murder of Anna Lisa Raymundo. Sheila Davalloo was sentenced to serve 25 years in state prison without parole.

Murder of Anna Lisa Raymundo

On November 8, 2002, the body of Anna Lisa Raymundo was found in her Stamford, Connecticut condo. She was bludgeoned over the head several times and stabbed nine times in her face, neck and chest in a chaotic struggle.

Sheila Davalloo was the prime suspect in the investigation into the murder, but police initially lacked the evidence to charge her. Shortly after Sheila's attempted murder conviction, Anna Lisa's father, Dr. Renato Raymundo, publically stated how he believed that Sheila was his daughter's killer. Sheila Davalloo was not charged with Anna Lisa Raymundo's murder until November 6, 2007, almost five years to the day of the murder.

By the time of Sheila's trial in 2012, it was more than four years after her arrest. Although Sheila elected to have a jury trial this time around, she chose to act as her own defense attorney and represent herself. During the beginning of her trial, she confronted Paul Christos, who had since divorced her, about his stabbing. However, when prosecutors asked Paul Christos to reveal the scars he obtained from the stabbing, Sheila broke down in court. She later laughed off the incident, stating, "I seem to have John Boehner's affliction."

On January 31, 2012, Connecticut's Forensic Science Laboratory explained the physical evidence at the crime scene, and stated that Sheila's DNA and blood was found in Anna Lisa's home. In addition, a voice recognition expert testified on Friday that he used digital voice analysis software to determine that Sheila was the 911 caller who lured police to Anna Lisa's home.

Sheila persisted in her defense's closing argument however the voice recognition was only 68%. She stated, "They say Harry Connick Jr. and Frank Sinatra sound alike." She also said there was reasonable doubt due to the lack of a murder weapon and questionable DNA results. Sheila argued that a blue contact lens found in Anna Lisa's hair pointed away from her as the killer, and cited a man and woman who were seen arguing in front of Anna Lisa's apartment. While the prosecution demanded that the blood evidence on the sink handle in Anna Lisa's bathroom explicitly pointed to Sheila, but Sheila stated that there should have been more blood in her apartment due to the violent nature of the struggle.

After jury deliberations, Sheila was convicted of first degree murder in the death of Anna Lisa Raymundo. She was sentenced to serve 50 years for the offense after she completed her sentence in New York for the attempted murder of her then-husband Paul Christos.

 
 

Davalloo sentenced to 50 years for 2002 murder

Sheila Davalloo: To serve 75 total years in prison

By Jeff Morganteen - StamfordAdvocate.com

April 27, 2012

STAMFORD -- Sheila Davalloo, the former pharmaceutical researcher convicted of killing Anna Lisa Raymundo in 2002, received a 50-year prison sentence Friday morning, a punishment that effectively keeps her behind bars for the rest of her life.

Her total sentence ends in 2079.

Davalloo, 42, must finish the remainder of a 25-year-prison sentence in New York state for the attempted murder of her ex-husband in 2003 before she begins serving jail time in Connecticut for the Raymundo homicide. Judge Richard Comerford handed down the 50-year prison term during a sentencing hearing Friday at state Superior Court in Stamford after listening to pleas for the 60-year maximum from Raymundo's parents.

Comerford, who presided over a 2--week trial earlier this year that ended with Davalloo's guilty verdict, described the murder as cold and calculated as he prepared to impose his sentence. He invoked religious images at certain moments, referencing the circles of hell from Dante's "Inferno."

"I hope you will be sure to contribute to those with whom you are incarcerated," Comerford told Davalloo. "I think the victim here would ask you to do that. She was a good soul. She was a charitable person."

Davalloo faced between 25 and 60 years in prison for the Raymundo homicide. Stamford Police Department investigators arrested her in 2008 and charged her with stabbing and bludgeoning Raymundo, a 32-year-old former co-worker at Purdue Pharma in Stamford, to death on Nov. 8, 2002. Authorities found Raymundo's body near the front entrance of her Shippan condo amid signs of a violent struggle.

Davalloo didn't become a suspect until March 2003, when she was arrested for stabbing her then-husband several times during a game involving handcuffs and blindfolds. An investigation into the attempted murder exposed Davalloo's affair with Nelson Sessler, another Purdue Pharma co-worker who began dating Raymundo after a brief relationship with Davalloo.

Investigators found Davalloo's DNA in a blood stain left on a bathroom sink handle, which authorities say the killer used to clean up after brutally killing Raymundo. Stamford police officers arrested Davalloo in 2008 while she served prison time following a guilty conviction for the attempted murder of her ex-husband. Authorities believed Davalloo wanted to kill both Raymundo and her ex-husband as part of an obsessive desire to rekindle her affair with Sessler.

The prosecutor during the Stamford trial, Supervisory State's Attorney James Bernardi, recounted the state's case against Davalloo during the hearing Friday, describing the events leading up to and after the Raymundo murder as similar to Greek tragedy.

"Witness by witness, it revealed a tale of obsessive vanity," Bernardi said of the trial.

Davalloo, who turns 43 next month, will be 60 when she begins serving the 50-year prison sentence, public defender Barry Butler said. Even sentences closer to the 25-year minimum would have kept Davalloo incarcerated for the rest of her life. Davalloo represented herself during the trial, but chose to have Butler handle her affairs following the trial.

"For all intents and purposes, they are all life sentences," Butler said during the hearing.

Butler argued for a sentence near the 25-year minimum. He cited Davalloo's troubled mental health history and the fact that even a light sentence would keep her incarcerated well into her 90s.

Before receiving her sentence, Davalloo addressed the court and took several moments to thank everyone from the judge to corrections officers to the jury that convicted her. Wearing a pink shirt and black pants, Davalloo spent the hearing without handcuffs until the judge imposed his sentence.

"First and foremost, I'd like to thank God for giving me the strength and the courage to stand here today," Davalloo said. "It was hard to sit here and withstand those harsh words."

Davalloo said she was troubled by hearing about how the Raymundo's parents questioned their faith after their daughters' brutal murder.

"I pray for them and hope that the punishment you hand down here today will give them closure and some kind of solace," she said.

Before being led from the courtroom by judicial marshals, Davalloo asked Comerford to issue a temporary stay of execution of her sentence so she could work on an appeal of her verdict while in a Connecticut prison. Comerford denied the motion.

Kelly Fado, a Greenwich resident who served on the jury that convicted Davalloo, returned to the courthouse Friday for the sentencing. The 12-person jury deliberated for a day and a half following closing arguments, and came back with a guilty verdict on Feb. 10 after voting only once.

The 50-year prison sentence satisfied Fado, she said.

"I sleep soundly at night with my decision," she said. "It was not something taken lightly by anyone."

Fado said jurors compared notes during deliberations and asked to hear testimony about the DNA analysis and a 911 call made from a fast food restaurant after the Raymundo homicide that alerted police to the crime. The caller told police she saw a man attack a woman in Raymundo's waterfront condo complex.

During the trial an expert witness testified that, based on voice recognition software, Davalloo was the person who made the 911 call. Fado said jurors did not consider the expert witness as reliable, so they disregarded his testimony and made their own comparison.

"We made our own judgment on that," Fado said.

The DNA evidence held the most weight from the state's case, Fado said. The 911 call served as the "nail in the coffin," she added.

Dr. Renato Raymundo and his wife, Susan, also a doctor, read statements to the court during the sentencing, highlighting their deceased daughters' accomplishments and the void her death left in their lives. A gifted student, Anna Lisa Raymundo earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and went to Columbia University for a master's degree.

Renato Raymundo detailed the effect the brutal murder and the 10-year wait for justice had on his personality and his family. He needed medication, and he questioned his faith in God. He and his wife relayed information about the police investigation to Raymundo's gravestone.

"Sheila Davalloo took away our most precious possession," Renato Raymundo said.

Attending each day of the trial with a group of relatives, he said the sentence accomplished his goal to remove Davalloo from society. He called her a "heinous woman" in his comments to Comerford; Susan Raymundo described her daughter's murder as a "demonic" act.

"This is what we were hoping for," Renato Raymundo said after the sentencing. "It was really a savage act, and uncivilized."

Paul Christos, Davalloo's former husband, testified against Davalloo during the trial and attended Friday's sentencing. Christos survived the 2003 stabbing following open heart surgery. He said Davalloo showed no remorse during the sentencing and displayed arrogance in thinking she could win an appeal.

"She lives in her own shade of reality," Christos said.

 
 

Jury finds Davalloo guilty of murder

Murder conviction: Faces sentence of 25 to 60 years in prison

By Jeff Morganteen - StamfordAdvocate.com

February 10, 2012

STAMFORD -- On certain days, Susan Raymundo left the Stamford courthouse feeling confident the jury would find her daughter's accused killer guilty of murder. Other days left her anxious.

"It was like a roller coaster," Susan Raymundo said. "Some days we were nervous and wouldn't sleep. Now, it's the top of the roller coaster."

On Friday afternoon, a palpable tension turned to quiet jubilation for the Raymundo family the moment a 12-person jury found Sheila Davalloo guilty of murdering their daughter in 2002.

Susan, 68, began sobbing into her hands just after the jury foreman announced the guilty verdict to a packed courtroom. Davalloo, a 42-year-old former pharmaceutical researcher from Pleasantville, N.Y., put her head into her hands, sat down and crossed herself.

Judge Richard Comerford scheduled sentencing for April 27. Davalloo faces 25 to 60 years in prison for the Raymundo murder, on top of the 25-year prison sentence she must serve in Westchester County for the attempted murder of her husband. The jury began deliberations Thursday morning and returned a verdict at 2:30 p.m. Friday. A judicial marshal handcuffed Davalloo and led her out of the courtroom.

The murder conviction came more than nine years after police found Anna Lisa Raymundo dead in the foyer of her waterfront condo on Harbor Drive on Nov. 8, 2002. She was bludgeoned over the head several times and stabbed nine times in her face, neck and chest in a chaotic struggle. The deepest stab wound pierced her lung, prosecutors said.

Davalloo, who was arrested in 2008 for the Raymundo homicide, chose to represent herself in the murder trial. Stamford police Capt. Richard Conklin called the investigation of Davalloo as labor-intensive. It took several years to line up physical evidence, such as DNA and voice analysis. Her 25-year prison sentence gave investigators the luxury of time.

"That gave us time to cross our T's and dot our I's," Conklin said.

During her defense earlier this week, Davalloo never presented an explanation against the state's key piece of evidence -- her DNA found in a blood stain on a bathroom sink handle in Raymundo's condo. She never presented an alibi explaining where she was when Raymundo was killed.

Instead, Davalloo emphasized inconsistent testimony on whether she made the 911 call alerting police to the Raymundo homicide, and at times tried to implicate Raymundo's boyfriend, a prosecution witness and her former lover. She had a key defense witness testify about seeing a man and woman arguing outside Raymundo's condo complex the morning of her death, only to have prosecutors cast him as a drug-addled, alcoholic parolee who lied to police several times throughout their investigation. The witness admitted he couldn't remember telling police about the argument.

Davalloo tried to cast doubt on the DNA evidence in her closing arguments Wednesday, arguing someone involved in the Raymundo investigation resubmitted the sink handle to the state police crime lab before DNA analysts made the positive match tying her to the scene. She said she was trying to "get to the bottom" of what had happened.

Jurors on Friday morning asked the court to replay testimony from Michael Bourke, a supervising DNA analyst in the state's forensic crime lab. Bourke testified the estimated frequency of someone other than Davalloo leaving that DNA profile on the sink handle was 1 in 8.5 million.

Juror David Michel, 37, from Stamford, said the jury voted only once after the lunch break Friday. They reached a unanimous decision.

"I was glad I served," Michel said. "It was a difficult trial and a difficult decision. We were all happy with our decision."

Michel said most jurors had questions about the case as deliberations began Thursday morning, but he declined to get more specific. Jurors pooled their notes and they referred to evidence to eliminate questions they had about the case before taking a vote, Michel said.

"All the jurors had some questions," Michel said. "We went through all the jurors' questions at that time in the trial. So we went through the evidence and the exhibit, and went back to what witnesses said."

Jurors embraced Raymundo's parents outside the courthouse Friday afternoon.

Susan Raymundo and her husband, Renato, 70, sat in the front row during the two-and-a-half week trial, never missing a witness or objection. They testified as prosecution witnesses at one point, telling jurors about their 32-year-old daughters' last phone call and how they used to clean her Shippan condo when they visited from Michigan or Florida a few times each year.

"We got what we were asking for after all these years of suffering," Renato said. "It does not replace our beloved daughter, Anna Lisa."

Since Davalloo chose to represent herself during the trial, she introduced a personal element to her cross-examinations of her former husband and a former lover. Renato Raymundo said he felt Davalloo's goal was to confuse the jury.

They watched as the prosecutor, Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney James Bernardi, called more than a dozen witnesses during eight days of testimony beginning Jan. 24, and as he introduced more than 50 pieces of evidence. Through testimony from Davalloo's former husband, Paul Christos, and Raymundo's boyfriend, Nelson Sessler, emerged the narrative of a workplace love triangle turned violent.

Bernardi argued that an obsessive desire to rekindle an affair with Sessler -- whom she dated behind Christos' back in 2001 -- drove her to kill Raymundo, her romantic rival. Sessler and Davalloo stopped dating in late 2001 as he grew more serious with Raymundo. Davalloo became a suspect in the Raymundo murder in March 2003 after she stabbed her husband twice during a game involving handcuffs and blindfolds.

A prosecution witness, Christos testified two weeks ago about how Davalloo told him about an office love triangle involving co-workers at Purdue Pharma in Stamford named Anna Lisa, Melissa and Jack in the months leading up to the Raymundo homicide. Davalloo spoke about staking out Raymundo's condo to catch Jack cheating on Melissa, and spoke about breaking into her condo. She bought a lock-pick kit and borrowed Christos' night-vision goggles.

The jurors heard Christos describe how Davalloo asked him to play a game that required them to take turns wearing handcuffs and blindfolds on March 23, 2003. Davalloo stabbed him twice during the game, faked a 911 call, and stabbed him again outside a Westchester County hospital, nicking his heart. Christos survived after open-heart surgery.

Davalloo was sentenced to 25 years in prison following a trial in 2004 for the attempted murder. Prosecutors said the same obsessive desire to be with Sessler drove Davalloo to stab her husband. Christos said he had to prepare himself to testify against Davalloo.

"It was difficult and I wanted to do it," Christos said. "I wanted them to have closure."

Christos waited for the jury to return a verdict outside the courtroom Thursday and Friday along with the Raymundo family. After the verdict, Renato Raymundo described his daughter's accomplished and short life, her degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University.

"She was a perfect daughter," Renato Raymundo said. "She was an excellent human being."

 
 

Closing arguments in Stamford murder trial

By Jeff Morganteen - StamfordAdvocate.com

February 8, 2012

STAMFORD -- In her closing arguments Wednesday, self-represented defendant Sheila Davalloo offered the jury a bullet-point list of what she described as examples of reasonable doubt. There was the lack of eyewitnesses or a murder weapon, the unknown DNA profiles found on dumbbells and the testimony from a convicted burglar.

"This is a case where I am being accused of killing someone," Davalloo said. "Did the state prove that I was physically there on Nov. 8, 2002? They can't do that."

Davalloo, a 42-year-old former pharmaceutical researcher from Pleasantville, N.Y., stands accused of fatally stabbing Anna Lisa Raymundo more than nine years ago because of what prosecutors call an obsessive desire to rekindle an affair with her boyfriend, Nelson Sessler, who worked with the two of them at Purdue Pharma in Stamford. It's part of the same motive Westchester County prosecutors used to convict Davalloo of attempted murder in 2004, a year after she stabbed her former husband while playing a game involving handcuffs and blindfolds.

"They're claiming the motive was to have Mr. Sessler all for myself," Davalloo said.

Serving a 25-year prison sentence for trying to kill her husband, Davalloo chose to represent herself during the murder trial at state Superior Court in Stamford, which ended Tuesday after more than two weeks of testimony.

During her final arguments Wednesday, Davalloo emphasized the inconsistent testimony about whether she made the 911 call that brought police to Raymundo's waterfront condo on Harbor Drive, where they found the victim's body lying in her foyer amid a bloody crime scene that included signs of a chaotic struggle. The killer stabbed Raymundo nine times in her chest, face and neck and bludgeoned her over the head several times.

A voice recognition expert testified earlier in the trial that digital voice analysis software determined Davalloo had made the 911 call, based on a comparison with a recording of her voice. Davalloo said the expert could only make a 68 percent match between the 911 call and her voice. Several co-workers also testified that they could not recognize the voice on the 911 call.

"They say Harry Connick Jr. and Frank Sinatra sound alike," Davalloo joked.

Davalloo tried to cast doubt on the prosecution's most damaging piece of evidence -- the blood sample found on a bathroom sink handle that contained DNA from both Davalloo and Raymundo. Prosecutors said they believe the killer used the sink to wash up after the murder. Davalloo said someone involved in the Raymundo investigation resubmitted the sink handle to the state police crime lab before DNA analysts made the positive match tying her to the scene. She said she was trying to "get to the bottom" of what had happened.

The sink handle was the only place at the crime scene where here DNA was found, Davalloo said.

Using a marker and bulletin board, Davalloo spelled out several other examples she felt were favorable to her defense, including a blue contact lens found in Raymundo's hair. Neither she nor Raymundo wears blue contact lenses, she said. She played up the weight advantage Raymundo had over her and the testimony from defense witness Gary Riley, a 51-year-old parolee who said he saw an argument between a man and women outside Raymundo's complex the morning of her death.

Davalloo told jurors she chose to represent herself so they could hear her voice.

"By the mere fact I decided to represent myself in this case, the jury had ample opportunity to listen to my voice," Davalloo said. "I thought that was important."

The prosecutor, Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney James Bernardi, agreed hearing her voice had been important. He said the 911 caller on the recording clearly sounded like Davalloo.

"You've been hearing the defendant's voice for the past two weeks," Bernardi said. "Your ears are not lying to you."

Bernardi used the last half of his closing argument to rebut Davalloo's attempts to find reasonable doubt. Citing statistics from a state DNA analyst, he said there was a 1 in 8.5 million chance that someone other than Davalloo could have left the genetic profile on the sink handle. Davalloo's clear connections to the victim made her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, Bernardi said.

To open his final arguments, Bernardi said the state proved several aspects of the case, such as motive and opportunity. He said witnesses, including her ex-husband, helped lay out Davalloo's obsessive affair with Sessler, whom Davalloo sent love letters following her arrest in 2003. She rekindled an affair with Sessler following Raymundo's death, telling her husband to leave their apartment so her mentally ill brother could visit.

Purdue Pharma records showed Davalloo left their Stamford offices for two hours the Friday morning Raymundo was killed.

Bernardi said Davalloo's former husband, Paul Christos, may have been gullible, but still intelligent. Before his attempted murder in March 2003, Davalloo repeatedly discussed an office love-triangle involving women named Anna Lisa and Melissa and a co-worker named Jack. Only after his attempted murder did Christos learn Anna Lisa was Raymundo, Jack was Sessler, and Melissa was his wife.

A few days after the Raymundo homicide, Christos heard about a pharmacist who had been murdered, and he asked Davalloo whether Anna Lisa was OK. Bernardi speculated Davalloo chose to kill her husband because if she had left him for Sessler, Christos would realize the connection with the Raymundo homicide and tell the police.

"As soon as he asked that question, his fate was sealed," Bernardi said.

Bernardi described Davalloo's mental state during late 2002 and early 2003 as less than "physiologically robust" several times, but reminded jurors she was not using an insanity defense. He added Davalloo could have worn gloves, which explains why her fingerprints weren't found at the scene. He said Davalloo planned the Raymundo murder, and either used a lock-pick kit to break into her apartment or made up a ruse to get Raymundo to let her inside. He discounted any advantage Raymundo had in a fight, arguing most people are simply unprepared for a life-or-death struggle.

Citing testimony from his cross-examination of Riley on Tuesday, Bernardi described the witness as a drug-addled alcoholic who changed his story several times in a failed deal for his release from prison. Riley admitted he could not remember much of what he told police officers following the Raymundo homicide, and that he lied about almost everything he had told investigators.

Bernardi finished his arguments by advising jurors not to sympathize with Davalloo or Raymundo's parents, who have sat in the front row during the entire trial. He said to leave sympathy for the judge, who determines the punishment if they reach a guilty verdict.

"Look, you're jurors," Bernardi said. "You're not parents. Sympathy is not for you. I'm confident your verdict will be guilty, because beyond a reasonable doubt, the evidence is overwhelming."

Judge Richard Comerford said he plans on charging the jury Thursday morning.

 
 

Man at center of alleged love triangle testifies

Nelson Sessler: Man alleged to be the object of slaying suspect's obsession testifies

By Jeff Morganteen - StamfordAdvocate.com

February 7, 2012

STAMFORD -- Nelson Sessler, the third corner of a love triangle that prosecutors say led to the 2002 fatal stabbing of Anna Lisa Raymundo, finished testifying Thursday afternoon after prosecutors presented letters and recorded conversations between him and defendant Sheila Davalloo.

The letters, coupled with testimony from Davalloo's 2004 trial for the attempted murder of her husband, helped Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney James Bernardi bolster his theory that Davalloo was obsessed with Sessler. In one letter, Davalloo said she had loved him; others were signed with "Love Always." Sessler testified that their relationship never became that serious.

"I had no idea she was obsessed," Sessler said. "We never had that kind of relationship where we shared the word love. It was completely left-field for me."

Davalloo, a 42-year-old former pharmaceutical researcher from Pleasantville, N.Y., is representing herself in a murder trial at state Superior Court in Stamford that began this Tuesday. Prosecutors allege she killed Raymundo in order to be with Sessler, with whom she had an affair the year before the Nov. 8, 2002 homicide. Sessler stopped seeing Davalloo when he became more serious with Raymundo, he testified on Wednesday.

Sessler said he and Davalloo ended their affair in winter 2001. He told Davalloo he was more interested in Raymundo, and Davalloo responded by describing their relationship as a summer fling. Sessler became Raymundo's live-in boyfriend by the latter half of 2002. That November, Raymundo was found dead in her Shippan apartment from nine stab wounds and blunt head trauma.

Sessler testified that Davalloo consoled him after Raymundo was killed and that they rekindled their affair. In March 2003, Davalloo was arrested for stabbing her husband three times. Sessler said Davalloo told him she was divorced and hid her husband's belongings when he came over. He learned she lived with her husband only after the stabbing. Cell phone records showed Davalloo called Sessler during the March 2003 assault. Sessler testified that she had invited him over for dinner that night.

Davalloo sent Sessler four letters following her arrest for the attempted murder of her husband, Paul Christos, who testified on Tuesday and Wednesday. Bernardi introduced the letters as evidence Thursday and had a court clerk read them aloud. In one, Davalloo wrote that if she had known Sessler and Raymundo were living together she would have acted differently: "Maybe I would have called her and warned her about you; I would have felt sympathetic and not murderous."

In another letter she wrote about how the U.S. war in Iraq upset her and how she didn't believe in abortion because of a strong stance against killing. Davalloo wrote that her fear of blood kept her from going to medical school. Several of the letters ended with rambling poems.

Sessler began recording conversations and telephone calls with Davalloo for the Stamford Police Department during spring 2003. One conversation took place in September 2003 at a since-closed fast food restaurant on Shippan Avenue. Prosecutors played the conversation aloud for the jury, and loud background noise from a busy restaurant drowned out the dialogue at certain points.

Sessler said his instructions were to keep Davalloo talking and to set up a next meeting.

"I don't know why they haven't solved this mystery," Davalloo said during the conversation recorded at Duchess in 2003.

During that recorded conversation, Sessler asked Davalloo when the last time she saw Raymundo was. She said in an elevator at Purdue Pharma in Stamford, where the three of them all once worked together. Sessler pressed Davalloo on secrets she kept from him, such as her husband and the events of Nov. 8, 2002.

"It would help me a lot to tell me what happened in the fall, so it's black-and-white and not gray," Sessler said.

"That would make my life a lot more difficult," Davalloo said.

During her cross examination of Sessler, Davalloo focused on his whereabouts during the time Raymundo was murdered, between 10:34 a.m. and 12:13 p.m. Nov. 8, 2002. Sessler testified he was at work throughout the day. Davalloo asked him whether there were any other ways to get in and out of the Purdue Pharma building without swiping a key card. Sessler said there wasn't.

Davalloo asked an accusatory question about injuries that Sessler denied having, and she quickly withdrew a question about Sessler changing his statements to police four times when Bernardi objected.

"On the day of Ms. Raymundo's murder, you had a swollen, red knuckle, swollen cheek and scratches on your back, correct?" Davalloo said.

"Not to my knowledge," Sessler replied.

Davalloo asked why Sessler kept her name from Stamford police investigators when they interrogated him the night of Raymundo's homicide and several more times after that. Sessler said he gave police the names of two former girlfriends who had mental health issues. He didn't tell them about Davalloo because she didn't show any signs of instability, he said.

"I didn't want you to go through the ordeal that I'd gone through," he said.

Thursday's proceedings ended after a court clerk read a lengthy transcript of Davalloo's testimony in her 2004 trial for the attempted murder of her husband. She was convicted in that trial and is serving a 25-year prison sentence.

 
 

Evidence detailed in Davalloo trial

By Jeff Morganteen - StamfordAdvocate.com

January 31, 2012

STAMFORD -- Prosecutors on Tuesday introduced nearly 50 pieces of crime scene evidence from the condo in which Anna Lisa Raymundo was found stabbed to death in 2002, including blood stains and men's clothes found in a bathroom.

The mountain of evidence, most of which was not relevant to the prosecution's case against self-represented defendant Sheila Davalloo, the 42-year-old former pharmaceutical researcher charged with Raymundo's murder, was presented during the fifth day of her murder trial at state Superior Court in Stamford. The prosecutor, Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney James Bernardi, focused on blood stains found in a bathroom near the foyer where police found Raymundo's body.

The state's Forensic Science Laboratory in Meriden determined eight years ago that Raymundo and Davalloo both contributed to the DNA profiles found in a blood stain on a sink handle from Raymundo's bathroom, according to Davalloo's arrest warrant affidavit. Prosecutors have yet to introduce the DNA report as evidence.

Bernardi asked prosecution witness State Trooper Don Elmendorf, who helped Stamford police investigate the Raymundo homicide, whether he could determine what happened in the bathroom on the day Raymundo was killed.

"That someone was standing in front of the sink trying to clean themselves," Elmendorf said.

Elmendorf testified to inventorying dozens of pieces of evidence from Raymundo's condo on Harbor Drive as Bernardi displayed photos of blood streaks, hair samples and fingerprints. The photos illustrated a crime scene that showed signs of a violent and chaotic struggle. Bernardi asked whether the condo showed any signs of burglary.

"You'd expect to see some missing items, jewelry or china," Elmendorf said, adding: "We didn't see any of that."

Elmendorf testified he found diluted blood stains in a half-bathroom next to where officers found Raymundo's body. Also found in the bathroom were two pieces of men's clothing -- a tan dress shirt and green tie -- left on the floor.

A female 911 caller alerted police to the homicide by telling dispatchers a man was attacking her neighbor at Harbor View Drive. A voice recognition expert testified on Friday that he used digital voice analysis software to determine that Davalloo was the 911 caller.

Davalloo briefly cross-examined Elmendorf following a lengthy process in which Bernardi had the state trooper testify about collecting each piece of evidence. Bernardi then introduced the collection of items -- which ranged from sneakers to pieces of a door frame -- into evidence at one time. Davalloo asked whether the blood stains found in the bathroom could have been diluted by water already on the floor and why troopers collected a men's pair of sneakers. There was blood on them, Elmendorf replied.

Before testimony ended Tuesday, Bernardi called one more state trooper to the stand to re-emphasize that Raymundo hadn't interrupted a burglary before someone killed her. Trooper Matthew Reilly testified the crime scene showed no signs of forced entry and the only way to enter the Harbor Drive condo was through the front door.

The state continues presenting its case Wednesday morning and plans to call two Stamford police officers to the stand. Prosecutors allege Davalloo committed the murder in order to be with Raymundo's boyfriend, a co-worker at Purdue Pharma whom Davalloo had dated in 2001.

Davalloo is serving a 25-year prison sentence for trying to kill her former husband in 2003. She faces between 25 and 60 years in prison if convicted of murder.

 
 

Davalloo breaks down in court

By Jeff Morganteen - StamfordAdvocate.com

January 25, 2012

STAMFORD -- Sheila Davalloo had an emotional moment Wednesday morning when her voice cracked and she appeared to cry while cross-examining her ex-husband, leaving her unable to finish her questions and forcing the judge to call an early lunch break.

Davalloo, the 42-year-old Pleasantville, N.Y., woman representing herself against a murder charge in the 2002 fatal stabbing of Anna Lisa Raymundo in Stamford, was asking her ex-husband, Paul Christos, about the scars on his chest when her voice first began to break. It was the second day of her murder trial in state Superior Court in Stamford.

Christos, 44, of White Plains, N.Y., testified Tuesday that Davalloo stabbed him twice in March 2003 while playing a game involving handcuffs and blindfolds. Christos was called back to the stand Wednesday to complete the cross-examination.

Davalloo asked whether he remembered visiting her after she began serving a 25-year prison sentence for his attempted murder. She asked whether he remembered Davalloo requesting to see his scars and mentioning whether there was a way to reduce the scar tissue. Her voice began to break, and she struggled to get through the question.

Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney James Bernardi asked whether Judge Richard Comerford would allow the court to break for lunch early.

Davalloo drank a cup of water. She asked whether Christos remembered telling Davalloo that the game involving handcuffs and blindfolds was fun. As Christos answered, Davalloo became emotional and couldn't continue with the cross-examination, causing Comerford to order a lunch recess. Davalloo dabbed her eyes with tissues and organized her case files as the courtroom emptied out for the lunch break.

Christos took the stand again just after 2 p.m. By then, Davalloo had regained her composure and cracked a joke about the weepy tendencies of the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

"I apologize for earlier," Davalloo said. "I seem to have John Boehner's affliction."

During the cross-examination, Davalloo focused on Christos telling a judge during her 2004 sentencing that he couldn't reconcile his violent stabbing with the past actions of his ex-wife, whom he had known for nine years before the attempted murder. Christos said he told the judge that his wife had never shown any violent tendencies before the stabbing.

Bernardi asked whether Christos still had feelings for his wife at that time, despite almost dying from the March 2003 assault.

"I wouldn't characterize it as romantic love, but I felt an obligation toward her," Christos said.

Christos said he felt guilty for missing signs of Davalloo's depression, which he said began in the weeks leading up to his stabbing. He testified earlier that Davalloo began sleeping longer and couldn't complete simple tasks, such as paying bills. Bernardi pressed him on whether her depression started in November 2002, the month Raymundo was killed. He said yes.

Prosecutors say Christos' stabbing was part of Davalloo's plan to eliminate obstacles to having an affair with a male co-worker. The co-worker, Nelson Sessler, was Raymundo's boyfriend. Christos said Davalloo told him about the love triangle on a daily basis, but changed the names to conceal her involvement.

Authorities accused Davalloo of killing Raymundo in order to be with Sessler. Raymundo was found dead Nov. 8, 2002, inside her Shippan condo with multiple stab wounds and blunt head trauma. The state's chief medical examiner, H. Wayne Carver II, testified Wednesday morning on behalf of a pathologist who performed Raymundo's autopsy but died before the trial.

Carver read from his deceased colleague's reports as Bernardi displayed graphic photos of Raymundo's dead body, whose chest, face and neck were marked with several stab wounds. Carver said Raymundo was stabbed nine times. One stab wound reached the back of her lung. She also suffered several blows to the head.

Davalloo asked Carver to surmise her height and weight, an attempt to emphasize the size advantage Raymundo had over Davalloo in a struggle. She pointed out that seven of the nine stab wounds left a pattern consistent with a single-edged knife. She questioned Carver whether that meant a double-edged blade -- a different weapon -- could have caused the other two wounds.

"It's a different pattern but in my opinion not definitive that two weapons were involved," Carver said.

Sessler took the stand Wednesday afternoon and described his affair with Davalloo. He met her in the summer of 2001 after getting a job with Purdue Pharma in Stamford. Davalloo told him she was divorced, Sessler said. He also met Raymundo around the same time. He and Davalloo began having sex, but they ended their physical relationship as Sessler became more serious with Raymundo.

In late 2002, after Raymundo got a job in New Jersey, he began to spend most days and nights at her condo on Harbor Drive in Stamford.

He recounted coming home from work on Nov. 8, 2002, to a crime scene at Raymundo's condo. During an interrogation later that night, police accused him of killing Raymundo, but investigators eventually ruled him out as a suspect. He never told police about his past relationship with Davalloo when they asked for the names of ex-girlfriends, he said.

Sessler testified that Davalloo began comforting him after Raymundo's death, and they rekindled their affair. They went on weekend ski trips after the homicide. Sessler learned Davalloo was married only after the March 2003 stabbing that nearly killed Christos. He called Stamford police investigators and told them to look into Davalloo as a suspect in the Raymundo killing.

Sessler said Davalloo called him the day of the stabbing to invite him over for dinner. He arrived at the Pleasantville apartment only to stumble upon another crime scene.

"If she could have stabbed a husband I didn't know she had, she certainly could have stabbed Anna Lisa," Sessler said, adding: "It all started to come together."

Sessler said he told Stamford police investigators he wanted to help with the case against Davalloo, so he wore a wire and recorded phone calls and conversations with her. Prosecutors plan on playing the recorded conversations for the jury Thursday morning.

Before testimony ended Wednesday, Bernardi asked Sessler about a trip he took to Las Vegas in summer 2002. At the airport terminal in Las Vegas, Sessler said was surprised when Davalloo approached him. The story was similar to one Davalloo told Christos in the fictional love triangle, according to his testimony. She was on the same flight back to the Northeast, sitting right next to Sessler, he testified.

"It must have been destiny," Bernardi said.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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