N.J. Rabbi Who Hired Hit Men to Kill Wife Dies in Prison

Photo by Tina Markoe Kinslow, Pool/AP Photo
Photo by Tina Markoe Kinslow, Pool/AP Photo

The New Jersey rabbi convicted for causing a grisly, headline-grabbing tragedy 30 years ago has died in prison.

Fred Neulander, 82, who was serving a lifetime prison sentence for hiring two hit men to murder his wife Carol in 1994, was declared dead on Wednesday. He was found unresponsive at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, and his death was announced on Friday by the state Department of Corrections.

Neulander had led Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, a suburb of Philadelphia, for two decades when he plotted to murder his wife—all so he could pursue an affair with a local radio personality.

Carol Neulander, a beloved community presence with whom Fred shared three children, was beaten to death in her home with a lead pipe by two men the rabbi had hired. The scene was meant to look like a robbery gone wrong, but the police quickly got suspicious because the house looked normal otherwise, according to the Inquirer.

One of the hit men, Len Jenoff, testified during Neulander’s trial that “he wanted to come home one night and find his wife dead on the floor.”

In 2002, Neulander was eventually convicted of murder charges and sentenced to a life sentence without the possibility of parole, as the jury could not agree on the death penalty. In 2016, Neulander attempted to overturn his conviction—a plea that was rejected in New Jersey appeals court.

The case has been the subject of various documentaries; in 2022, a Los Angeles theater staged a musical based on the story.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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