A prominent Central New York obstetrician has been indicted for the murder of his wife.
At a news conference Monday morning, the Onondaga County District Attorneyâ??s Office said Dr. Robert M. Neulander, 62, of Syracuse has been indicted on charges of second degree murder and tampering with physical evidence. He was arraigned in county court earlier in the morning and pleaded not guilty before Judge Thomas Miller.
In April of 2013, CNY Central first reported that Neulander was under investigation by police for the September 2012 death of his wife Leslie, 61. She was found dead in a shower in the family's home on Shalimar Way in Fayetteville. The Onondaga County Medical Examiner initially ruled Leslie Neulander's death an accident after Dr. Neulander said she had slipped and fallen, but police searched the doctorâ??s Hanover Square apartment in Syracuse looking for evidence connected to her death.
Officials did not offer much in the way of details surrounding the circumstances of the murder at the news conference, saying that information would come out at trial. They would not comment on a possible motive, saying only that forensic information gathered during the investigation led them to consider Dr. Neulander as the suspect in his wife's death.
D.A. William Fitzpatrick did say that Neulander moved his wife's body and changed the sheets on their bed.
"The grand jury charged that the defendant changed the sheets on the master bed in his wife's bedroom and moved the body of Leslie Neulander after her death to alter and conceal physical evidence and blood stain patterns at the scene," says Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick also explained that Neulander is not the typical suspect because he's a doctor and has some knowledge of forensics and injuries.
Fitzpatrick said Leslie Neulander's body was found in a prone position 60 feet from the shower by emergency personnel. He says she had obvious blunt trauma to the side of the head.
The couple was in the process of getting a divorce at the time of the alleged killing.
"I think it was common knowledge, at least in the community, that they were in the process of a divorce. They were sleeping in separate bedrooms in the house," says Fitzpatrick.
Dr. Neulander walked hand in hand with his daughters and Leslie's sister on his way into the indictment.
Dr. Neulander is credited with delivering more than 10,000 babies during his career. The Neulanders have four children and were very active in the Central New York Jewish community. He was the chairman of the 2013 annual campaign for the Jewish Federation of Central New York, which was conducted in memory of his late wife.
Last year, Neulanderâ??s children released a statement of support for their father, saying in part "â?|The four of us children: Jenna, Ari, Brian, and Emily support our Father undeniably and with unconditional love. Our extended family, including our motherâ??s brother and sister, stand behind us and our father. The tragedy of losing Mom has been all consuming will only be mended through peace and love as we continue to grieve our loss."
Dr. Neulander is free on $100,000 cash bail or $200,000 bond. A trial has been scheduled for January 2015.