Danny Pelosi, an electrician who married Generosa Ammon three months after her multimillionaire husband, Ted Ammon, was bludgeoned to death in his Long Island mansion wason March 23, 2004.
Pelosi was arraigned before state Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle on the second-degree murder charge and then held without bail. He had surrendered hours earlier in the company of three lawyers.
48 Hours' last reported on the Ammon murder case on Feb. 11, 2004.
Drive just a couple of hours from Manhattan and you'll reach the exclusive community of East Hampton, Long Island.
If you have to ask about the price of things out here, you probably can't afford them. It's a way of life to which most people would love to become accustomed -- where the pets are almost as pampered as the people.
"The homes around here start at $6 million and go all the way up to $30 million," says artist Sam Wagner, who is no stranger to local gossip. He's been coming here for years.
"You've got Steven Spielberg, Martha Stewart, Calvin Klein, P. Diddy, Ralph Lauren, Caroline Kennedy … This is the land of the rich and famous and infamous."
Fame and fortune can buy safety and security. At least that's the way it worked here until Oct. 22, 2001 – when dashing multimillionaire Ted Ammon, 52, was found brutally murdered in the mansion he owned with his beautiful wife, Generosa.
Correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports on East Hampton's first murder in more than 20 years.
"Bad news is a good story," says Kieren Crowley, a reporter for the New York Post, who's writing a book on the Ammons. "This guy was tall, dark and handsome. He was brilliant. He was very personable. He was very charming. Women loved this guy."
Ammon, who grew up in a middle-class childhood, breezed through Bucknell University as a frat boy and lacrosse player. He married in 1973 and moved to London to practice law.
When his first marriage ended 10 years later, Ammon started looking for an apartment in New York City. He booked an appointment with a real estate agent named Generosa Rand.
Generosa was tough and outspoken and known for her temper. But Ammon kept pursuing her. They married in 1986, and they complemented each other. She was the artist; he had the money. Ammon was involved in some of Wall Street's biggest deals, and made his first $50 million by the age of just 42.
In 1992, the couple adopted 2-year-old twins from the Ukraine – Greg and Alexa. And Ammon went on to make his second fortune with Big Flower, a printing company he started on his own. The family seemed extremely happy, but friends started to wonder when the Ammons abruptly left New York to move into a 22-room manor house in the English countryside.
"She was trying to pull Ted out of New York City and the very busyness of his life," says Ed Meyer, one of Generosa's lawyers. "She persuaded him to start to relax, to enjoy the family. Enjoy the English countryside."
But the couple didn't enjoy it for very long. Ammon took frequent trips back to New York and Generosa became convinced that they weren't all business-related. She began telling friends he was having an affair. By the summer of 2000, they were both back in Manhattan, living apart. Generosa had filed for divorce and was looking for more than $1 million a year in living expenses.
"Between $100,000 and $150,000 a month was not that much, believe it or not, when you're talking about that kind of income," says Meyer.
Generosa evidently wanted to hurt Ammon, and not just financially. Before the divorce was final, she found a new boyfriend – Danny Pelosi. And he was everything that Ammon was not.
"It was the princess and the pauper. That was the relationship," says Pelosi. "She came from a world of enormous wealth. Been to every continent, and I've been to Florida."
In the fall of 2000, Generosa hired Pelosi to supervise the $4 million renovation of her new townhouse.
"I ended up staying at the job instead of driving all the way back to Long Island, and one morning, Generosa showed up and found me sleeping in the truck," recalls Pelosi. "And she said none of her workers sleep in the truck. 'You're going to stay at the Stanhope, I'll get you a room at the Stanhope.'"
The Stanhope was one of the swankiest hotels in New York, where Generosa and her two children were living during the renovation. It wasn't Pelosi's style, but he was doing his best to fit in, especially with Generosa.
"Of course I was flirting! Yeah. I was in the middle of a divorce, you know? And this was a very attractive, elegant lady who told me she was getting divorced," says Pelosi. "She told me she hadn't had sex in two years. You know?"
Before long, these two would-be divorcees were dating.
"Just to think she wanted something to do with me blew me away. It was the biggest ego trip in the world," says Pelosi. "Every guy on my job begged me not to fool around with her, because they were afraid I'd get fired and we'd lose our job!"
Pelosi is a high school dropout and a former drug and alcohol abuser, with a rap sheet filled mostly with drunk driving charges. But things were looking up. He'd no longer have to worry about drinking or driving.
"Next thing I knew it, I was driving around in a limousine," says Pelosi. "Putting the wine menu in front of me that's not even written in English, you know? I drink Bud Light. It's that easy."
That summer, Pelosi became a fixture in the Hamptons. "I absolutely fell in love with her," he says.
But Generosa's divorce from Ammon was consuming most of her time by the summer of 2001. Pelosi says the Ammons had no communication for nearly two years. Instead, they used private detectives to find out what they needed to know.
The real victims, however, were the Ammon's two children. "The parents were so involved in the divorce they forgot about the kids. I mean it wasn't fair. It wasn't right," says Pelosi.
By October 2001, after a bitter year of feuding, the Ammons were close to settling. But just days before the divorce papers were to be signed, Ammon was found bludgeoned to death in his East Hampton mansion.
Ammon's battered, naked body was found in his East Hampton estate, shortly after 5 p.m. on Oct. 22, 2001.
"The blood, we understand, started downstairs and came upstairs. And was even in the shower where it looked like the perpetrator or perpetrators might have tried to wash themselves off," says Meyer.
"The trail of blood is present downstairs, onto the terrace. And blood trail goes upstairs, goes into the bathroom, and in another room where it looked like Ted may have been trying to get away."
Although there were clues all over the crime scene, they only seemed to add to the mystery.
In the beginning, there were far more suspects than leads. There was Generosa Ammon and her boyfriend Danny Pelosi, who both said they had strong alibis. Then, there was Ted Ammon's first wife and his girlfriend.
There was also the business partner, who chartered a helicopter out to East Hampton, and discovered Ammon's battered body. Plus, there was also talk that Ammon was killed during a homosexual encounter.
As the months dragged on, investigators never took their eyes off the most obvious suspect: Generosa, the scorned wife who never hid her rage.
"I saw a hate against her husband that she put out on her sleeve for the world to see," says Meyer.
Generosa hired defense attorney Michael Dowd soon after the murder, to handle questions from the police and the media. But suspicion intensified when investigators learned that it was Generosa who would inherit most of Ammon's fortune – despite their pending divorce.
To this day, no one is claiming that Generosa knew that Ammon had either forgotten or neglected to change his will. But the timing of it all was hard to ignore.
It was also hard to ignore Pelosi, especially when investigators found out he'd hired a contractor to install a surveillance system in the East Hampton mansion, which Ammon and Generosa were both still using on alternate weekends.
The system allowed Pelosi and Generosa to watch whatever was going on inside the house – even private moments -- by just logging on to their remote laptop computers. "If they were in a hotel room on a vacation, in a plane, anywhere they would like," says John Kundle, who installed the system.
People started to wonder. If Pelosi and Generosa could see when Ammon was alone at home, would they know when to make their move?
"I did not murder Ted Ammon," says Pelosi, who claims he has witnesses to prove he was visiting friends and family on Long Island at the time of the murder. "I've been trying to scream it since Day One. No, I did not murder Ted Ammon. If I knew who did, I probably wouldn't be sitting here."