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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Comerford, who presided
over a 2-½-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
"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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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.
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
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
"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'
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
"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 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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
"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
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.
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,
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
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
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
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
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 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,"
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
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
"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.