Days after the New Jersey rabbi convicted of murdering his wife told NBC10 that he expects to be exonerated, the hit man in the case spoke out saying the rabbi did indeed pay him to do the deed.
Len Jenoff tells The Philadelphia Inquirer he was truthful during murder trials for Cherry Hill Rabbi Fred Neulander in 2001 and 2002. Neulander was convicted of his wife's murder in the second trial and is serving a 30-year sentence.
Though Jenoff testified to Neulander’s guilt in the trials, in 2009 Jenoff said in a sworn statement in 2009 that he'd been lying and that Carol Neulander's death was a robbery gone bad, not a hired hit. Neulander has filed an appeal for a new trial based on Jenoff's recantation. In his interview with the Inquirer he flipped his statement once again.
"I testified at two trials that Fred Neulander did hire me in fact to kill his wife and make it look like a robbery and that is, in fact, the truth," 66-year-old Jenoff said in a videotaped prison interview with the Inquirer Monday.
Jenoff and an accomplice bludgeoned Carol Neulander to death with a pipe when she opened her front door one day in 1994. Prosecutors claimed that Rabbi Neulander schemed to kill his wife so that he could carry on a relationship with another woman -- former radio personality Elaine Soncini.
Jenoff broke the case open in 2000 when he confessed his role in the killing and implicated Neulander, first to an Inquirer reporter and then to authorities.
Jenoff now says he claimed he had lied in part because he was depressed about his time behind bars. He said that friends promised him “money, a job when I'm released, a car and again money in my [prison] account every month” if he recanted his statement.
"Like a greedy schmuck, I signed the affidavit," Jenoff wrote in a letter, according to the Inquirer.
While Neulander -- who was unaware of Jenoff’s flipped account -- told NBC10 that he will walk out of prison a free man, prosecutors say that is unlikely. The turn around in Jenoff’s statement makes any sort of exoneration of Neulander very difficult, Camden County prosecutors told the Inquirer.
Jenoff is scheduled to be released in two years.