Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Rise and Fall of Thomas Capano

The Last Word

Many people expected the verdict to be quick, but the six men and six women of the jury deliberated for three full days, on top of the twelve weeks they'd already been in the courtroom.  Feeling that many things said in court had been taken out of context, they pored over the four hundred exhibits in order, taking it one piece at a time.  Judge Lee had allowed them only one charge: guilty or not of first-degree murder.

The case rested on whom to believe: Capano or MacIntyre, both of whom were liars.

Tom Capano's demeanor on the stand repelled most of them - the way he trashed people and insisted that he was blameless in all regards.  He seemed unaware that his immoral sexual escapades affected his own family, humiliated his wife and shocked his daughters.  To him, it was all about one's own taste.  He seemed to feel that everything he did was justified.  That arrogance went against him, and no one could figure out why it had taken him two and a half years to reveal that the whole thing was an accident.

Ultimately, the prosecution's final words had an effect: Capano had lied and lied and lied to lawyers, psychiatrists, lovers and family - and he'd done this because he was guilty.  It was a powerful summation.

On Sunday, January 17, 1999, the jury came out and the foreman looked right at Capano to pronounce him guilty of first-degree murder.

Sketch of the courtroom with verdict being read.
Sketch of the courtroom with verdict being read.

The Faheys were relieved, the Capanos horrified.  Outside, a cheer went up from the crowd.

Next came the sentencing phase, with a bit of new evidence that probably made all the difference in what the jury ultimately decided.  Tom Capano apparently had put a known child molester in touch with his daughters so that he could get around the prison rules about communication.  That meant he'd made them vulnerable to a man who'd eventually get out of prison.

Despite many members of the Capano family begging for mercy - including Louis and Gerry - the sentence the jury recommended was death.

The judge apparently agreed.  He'd shown his clear dislike of Capano throughout the trial, and his final words made his feelings quite clear.  Judge Lee called him a "ruthless murderer who feels compassion for no one and remorse only for the circumstances in which he finds himself.  He is a malignant force from whom no one he deems disloyal or adversarial can be secure, even if he is incarcerated for the rest of his life."

Thomas Capano
Thomas Capano

On June 28, 1999, three years and one day after Anne Marie Fahey was murdered, Capano was to die by lethal injection. His death sentence was later overturned, and in 2006 he was resentenced to life without parole.  On September 19, 2011, Thomas J. Capano was found dead of an apparent heart attack in his cell at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Delaware.  He was 61.

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