Carl Coppolino

Date of crime: 28 / 8 / 65

Motive: So that he could marry his lover.

Crime: Coppolino was charged with killing his wife, Carmela at their home on Florida's Gulf of Mexico coast. He was also tried for murdering Colonel William E. Farber, the husband of his ex-lover Marjorie. However, he was acquitted from this offence.

Method: Coppolino gave Carmela an overdose in the form of an injection of the anaesthetic succinylcholine chloride.

Sentence: Coppolino was charged with second degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. He served 12 years, before being let out for good behaviour.

Interesting facts: An overdose of succinylcholine chloride is difficult to detect in the body, as succinic acid and choline are found naturally in the body. To be able to prove this was the cause of Carmela's death, toxicologst Dr Joseph Umberger had to devise a test, which in June 1966 he succeeded in doing.

Coppolino was an experienced anaesthetist, who had had to give up work at an early age due to ill health. So he had the knowledge and the means to kill Carmela in this way.

It was claimed that Coppolino had also killed Farber in the same way. When he was exhumed, it was discovered that his cricoid cartilage was fractured, which suggested that he had been strangled. In court it was claimed that this damage could have occurred during exhumation, and that he had sufficient arteriosclerosis to have died of a heart attack, as was originally supposed.