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Thomas J. CAPANO





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Former deputy attorney general of Delaware - The victim's body was never recovered
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 27, 1996
Date of arrest: August 19, 1999
Date of birth: October 11, 1949
Victim profile: His mistress, Anne Marie Fahey, 28 (the appointments secretary to then-Governor Thomas R. Carper)
Method of murder: ???
Location: Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on March 15, 1999. Resentenced to life in prison without parole in February 2006. Died in prison on September 19, 2011

photo gallery


petition for writ of certiorari


The Supreme Court of the State of Delaware


opinion 110 & 149


Thomas J. Capano is an American lawyer from Wilmington, Delaware, who was convicted of the 1996 murder of Anne Marie Fahey. The case is noteworthy because of Capano's close association with Delaware's political establishment and in that Fahey's body was never recovered.

Capano is a member of a prominent family of Delaware land developers and building contractors. He became a wealthy, well-connected lawyer, state prosecutor, and political consultant, known to nearly everyone in Delaware's political community.

Anne Marie Fahey was the personal scheduler to Governor Thomas R. Carper. She was an attractive 30 year old member of another well-known family, and was attempting to end a romantic relationship with the married Capano.

As a result of this he murdered her and dumped her body in the Atlantic Ocean. All Delaware watched as U.S. Attorney Colm F. Connelly built the case against Capano, and as he was tried and sentenced to death in 1999 by Superior Court Judge William Swain Lee.

In January, 2006, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed his conviction for murder but remanded the case for sentencing because the death penalty was imposed by a non-unanimous jury verdict. In February of that year, the state abandoned their efforts for capital punishment, opting to leave Capano imprisoned for life without parole. Capano's attorneys stated that they would continue to appeal his conviction in federal courts.

In April 2008, the U.S. District Court reaffirmed Capano's conviction, rejecting an appeal made by Capano's lawyers.


Thomas J. Capano (born October 11, 1949) is a disbarred American lawyer from Wilmington, Delaware, who was convicted of the 1996 murder of his lover Anne Marie Fahey. The case made headlines because Capano is from a wealthy family and was a former deputy attorney general of Delaware.


Capano is a member of a prominent family of Delaware real estate developers and building contractors. He became a wealthy, well-connected lawyer, state prosecutor, Wilmington city attorney, counsel to Governor Michael N. Castle, and political consultant, well known in Delaware's political community. In 1994 Capano was a partner at the Wilmington office of the law firm Saul Ewing LLP when he became involved with Anne Marie Fahey, the 28-year-old appointments secretary to then-Governor Thomas R. Carper.

Fahey's disappearance; investigation

Anne Marie Fahey, the scheduling secretary for Delaware's then-Governor Thomas Carper, was last seen alive on Thursday, June 27, 1996, when she went to dinner with Capano in Philadelphia. Fahey's family reported on June 30, 1996, that she was missing. An extensive investigation concerning her disappearance ensued. That investigation culminated in November 1997, over sixteen months later, in Capano's arrest for her murder. Fahey's body was never found, however, and the State was unable to establish the precise manner by which Fahey died.

Fahey's disappearance was a mystery for a considerable time before Capano was charged with her murder. Capano, who was the last known person to have seen her alive on June 27, 1996, was an early suspect in the investigation by the Wilmington Police. By mid-July 1996, the FBI actively joined in the investigation, and a federal grand jury heard evidence for over a year.

In September 1995, Fahey met Michael Scanlon while she was still involved in the relationship with Capano. After a rocky beginning in her relationship with Scanlon, she fell in love with him. Capano murdered her at the house he rented and, with the assistance of his brother, Gerry Capano, dumped her body in the Atlantic Ocean. Gerry Capano owned a boat and, when it was sold, its two anchors were missing. Detectives suspected the boat's anchors were used to weigh down Fahey's body.

On November 8, 1997, Gerry Capano was interviewed by detectives and told them that Thomas had asked for the boat and then admitted to Gerry that he had murdered someone who was attempting to extort him. They went to Stone Harbor, New Jersey, with a large cooler that contained Fahey's body. As this type of cooler is frequently used by fishermen, it was not considered suspicious.

The Capanos went 62 miles (100 km) out to sea and pushed the cooler overboard. However, it floated, even after they shot the cooler. Thomas retrieved the cooler, took the body out, and wrapped the anchor chains around it. Gerry then was asked to help dispose of a blood-stained sofa and carpet in a dumpster, which was managed by another brother, Louis. Subsequently, Thomas ordered Louis to empty the dumpsters; Louis had them emptied out of their regular schedule.

The cooler was found on July 4, 1996, by fisherman Jay Chubb.

Investigators did not have a murder weapon or a body, and investigations into Capano's records in buying guns was not revealing. However, Capano's mistress, Debby MacIntyre, had bought a gun and, when questioned by investigators, admitted to supplying the weapon to Capano.

Trial and appeal

U.S. Attorney Colm Connolly and Delaware state prosecutor Ferris Wharton were the state's prosecutors, and William Swain Lee was the presiding judge in the highly-publicized Superior Court trial. The defense claimed that MacIntyre had burst into Capano's room and, as Capano and MacIntyre were wrestling for the gun, it fired, killing Fahey. On January 17, 1999, the trial resulted in Capano's conviction and he was sentenced to death.

In January 2006, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed Capano's conviction but remanded the case for sentencing because the death penalty was imposed by a non-unanimous jury verdict. In February of that year, the state abandoned its efforts to seek capital punishment for Capano, opting to leave him imprisoned for life without parole. Capano's attorneys stated they would continue to appeal his conviction in federal courts.

As of 2011 Capano is imprisoned at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

Habeas corpus petition and appeal

In April 2008, the U.S. District Court reaffirmed Capano's conviction, rejecting a habeas corpus petition filed by Capano. On September 2, 2008, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed this decision, making the only avenue left for review of the conviction to be petition for certiorari to the US Supreme Court. Capano did not file this petition, bringing an end to the case.


Several books have been written about the murder case including And Never Let Her Go: Thomas Capano: The Deadly Seducer by Ann Rule, The Summer Wind: Thomas Capano and the Murder of Anne Marie Fahey by George Anastasia, and Fatal Embrace: The Inside Story of the Thomas Capano/Anne Marie Fahey Murder Case by Cris Barrish and Peter Meyer. In 2001, a television movie based on Ann Rule's book was made called And Never Let Her Go with Mark Harmon cast as Capano and Kathryn Morris as Anne Marie Fahey.



Thomas J. Capano

A Superior Court judge Thursday set June 7 2005 as the date convicted killer Thomas J. Capano will be executed for the 1996 murder of Anne Marie Fahey.

The previous execution date was stayed because of Capano's appeal, and it is unlikely the former prosecutor will be executed on the new date. "He has 30 days to file an appeal with the Delaware Supreme Court, and that's what's going to happen," said Capano's attorney, Joseph M. Bernstein. "Just about any day he set within reason is academic."

Earlier this month, Sussex County Resident Judge T. Henley Graves denied Capano's motions for post-conviction relief, rejecting arguments that Capano had ineffective legal counsel at trial and that his death sentence should be set aside because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Capano had argued that the Supreme Court's ruling in Ring v. Arizona in 2002 required juries to unanimously recommend the death sentence. The jury in Capano's case did not. "It is the sentence of this court that you shall be kept in the custody of the Department of Correction until ... Tuesday, June 7, 2005, and on that day, between the hours of 12 a.m. and 3 a.m., you shall be ... injected intravenously with a substance or substances in a lethal quantity sufficient to cause death until you are dead," Graves said Thursday.

As Graves passed the sentence, Bernstein stood next to Capano, who has gained weight in prison. Capano's feet were shackled and he wore an orange jumpsuit and had a white beard. For the most part, he only whispered to Bernstein. But when Graves denied Capano's request to hear any future sentencings over Videophone, Capano blurted: "We did before."

Graves explained that because of the magnitude of the death penalty, he felt it was important that he be present. "If this occurs again, I will expect sentencing to take place in open court, with the defendant present and counsel present," Graves said.

Capano, who suffers from the stomach disorder colitis, has been requesting not to be present at his sentencings. "He has some fairly well-documented health problems," Bernstein said. "When you come up here ... they get you up at four in the morning and you don't eat. For somebody with health problems that's difficult."

Capano was convicted of the 1996 murder of Fahey, 30, who was the scheduling secretary for then-Gov. Tom Carper, now a U.S. senator.



Capano sentenced to death

By Bryan Robinson -

March 16, 1999

WILMINGTON, Del. (Court TV) A Delaware judge upheld a jury recommendation and sentenced Delaware attorney Thomas Capano to the death penalty for the 1996 murder and disappearance of his mistress, Anne Marie Fahey.

Judge William Swain Lee could have overturned the jury's Jan. 28 recommendation and sentenced Capano to life in prison without parole. But, before Tuesday's sentencing, Judge Lee had indicated his decision by saying that he would give the jury's recommendation "great weight."

"The defendant fully expected to get away with it, and if not for his arrogant and controlling nature, he may have succeeded," Judge Lee said in court. "He is a ruthless murderer and feels compassion for no one and remorse only for the circumstances he finds himself in today."

Capano showed no emotion as he learned his sentence and mouthed, "It will be all right" to his mother and brother Joseph as he was led from the courtroom.

On Jan. 28, the jury recommended in a 10-to-2 vote that Capano should be put to death by lethal injection. Tuesday's sentencing is the end of a sensational trial and the beginning of what could be a long appeals process for Capano. Judge Lee scheduled Capano's execution to take place June 28, but in Delaware it takes an average of 8 1/2 years for a death sentence to be carried out.

On Jan. 18, the former state prosecutor and political adviser was convicted of murdering Fahey, the governor's secretary in June 1996, stuffing her in a water cooler and then dumping her body at sea. Prosecutors said Capano killed Fahey because she wanted to end their three-year affair.

Fahey's body was never found, and prosecutors had to rely on the testimony from Capano's brothers to get a conviction. Gerard Capano testified that he helped his brother dispose of the body while another brother, Louis, admitted helping Thomas conceal evidence.

For over two years after the murder, Capano never gave his account of Fahey's death. But at trial, Capano testified that his other mistress, Deborah MacIntyre, killed Fahey out of a jealous rage and that he was trying to protect her. MacIntyre denied any involvement in Fahey's murder and said she was not with Capano on the night of the incident.

During closing arguments in the penalty phase of his trial, Capano refused to admit to Fahey's murder and told jurors he was not going to beg them for mercy. But he asked jurors to spare his life for the sake of his family.

"I'm not going to ask you to sit here and beg for my life," Capano said. "I do ask you to consider my daughters, my mother, and the rest of my family. For their sake, I do ask you to let me live."

During the penalty phase of the trial, the Faheys testified that Capano not only ended Anne Marie's life but also cheated them of an opportunity to properly bury her. Prosecutors argued that the gruesome nature of Fahey's killing and Capano's attempted cover-up warrant his death by lethal injection.

In addition, the judge also had to consider evidence that Capano planned Fahey's murder. Prosecutors said he purchased a gun a month before the slaying and asking his brother Gerard about the use of his boat. During the penalty phase, the state also attempted to prove a pattern of behavior in Capano by using evidence that he solicited the beating of a former love interest nearly 20 years ago. Linda J. Marandola, told jurors he stalked her for months after they had two sexual encounters in the late 1970s. According to Marandola, she eventually spurned Capano, and he hounded her so much that she finally had to leave Delaware. Attorney James S. Green, Marandola's former boss and Capano friend, testified that Capano told an FBI informant he wanted Marandola hurt for rebuffing him.

The Faheys have filed a wrongful death suit against Capano and his brothers for their involvement in the attempted cover-up of the murder.


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