Sweet, Werner Lippe was convicted

Werner Lippe has been convicted of murdering his wife, Faith, who’s been missing since October 2008. Werner was a jeweler who had designed pieces for celebrities, and he had quite a lot of money. (Wikipedia says the median income for a family living in their hometown is close to $90,000. That’s like twice the national average.) He and Faith were going to get a divorce, and perhaps he didn’t want to share his wealth. Their own son had to testify against his father at the trial.

I was a bit concerned that Werner might not be convicted, because the previous jury had deadlocked at 7 to 5 for acquittal. But justice was served. He faces 25 years to life in prison.


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Werner Lippe and Dennis Tetso

The trials of Werner Lippe for killing his wife Faith Lippe, and Dennis Tetso for killing his wife Tracey Gardner-Tetso, are still underway. Well, actually, the Tetso trial is over and the jury is on its third day of deliberations. Meanwhile, yesterday and today Werner Lippe took the stand in his own defense. He’s trying to say he was pressured into inventing his confessions — there were three — to Faith’s murder.

I wouldn’t be willing to place a bet on the verdicts in either trial. As a general rule, the longer a jury is out the less likely they are to convict, but it’s only a general rule. As for Werner Lippe, in spite of his three confessions, at his first trial last year the jury deadlocked at 7 to 5 for acquittal.

Two murder trials

The trial has begun for Dennis Tetso, accused of murdering his wife Tracey Gardner-Tetso, who disappeared from Maryland in 2005. According to this Baltimore Sun article, Dennis was suspicious of Tracey and thought she was having an affair. (And, indeed, she was.) He did not participate in the search for her, and this article says he even ripped down missing person fliers for his wife. Way to look innocent.

This article has a picture of Dennis, though not a very good one. His defense is going with the “no body, no crime” gambit.

Meanwhile, in New York, Werner Lippe is going through his second trial in the presumed death of his wife, Faith, who went missing in 2008. There was a mistrial earlier this year when the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The couple’s children were 12 and 14 at the time of Faith’s disappearance. Their son, now 16, testified against his father. Lippe’s defense, like Dennis Tetso’s is playing up the reasonable doubt thing. A good quote from his attorney in this article: “You can’t convict someone on maybe.” But the fact that Werner actually confessed to a (wired) friend is a major strike against him.

Mistrial in Lippe case

This month Werner Lippe was tried for second-degree murder in the death of his wife Faith, who’s been missing since October 2008. It looks like a fairly typical example of a man who didn’t want to go through the legal hassle and financial wrangling of a divorce (he already had two ex-wives), so he opted for another route. Werner did make three confessions, one directly to the police, but the prosecution was hampered by a complete lack of physical evidence of foul play. No blood, bone fragments, not even the barrel they think Werner burned his wife’s body in.

After four days, the jury was unable to reach a verdict, so the judge declared a mistrial. Werner will have to be retried later, probably years from now. He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted. He and Faith have two children together. One detail I saw was that Werner made their son (who was about 13 or so at the time) audio-tape the marital arguments for evidence in the upcoming divorce. That’s cold. But is Werner a killer? I don’t know.

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