The case of Dr. Carl A. Coppolino was very similar to the case of Sam Sheppard, which F. Lee Bailey also took on. Carl A. Coppolino was a doctor, and he was accused of murdering his wife. He was also accused of killing his neighbor. The prosecutors said that the doctor injected his murder victims with succinylcholine chloride, and it couldn’t be detected when the case was going on because there weren’t enough advances in forensic technology at the time. Bailey had just gotten an acquittal in the Sam Sheppard case, and he was ready to try his hand at another case. He did successfully defend the doctor over the death of the neighbor. However, he did get convicted of killing his wife. He was given parole after serving a 12 year stint in a prison.
The motive for the killer was so that he could wed his lover. His neighbor was the husband of his former lover. He killed her with an overdose of a chemical substance too. That was easy because he was a doctor, and he knew how to do it, and the forensic technology had not aught up with him yet, and he thought he might be able to get away with it.
He was convincted of second degree murder, and he was supposed to get life in prison, but he only served 12 years of his sentence, and then he got parole.
An overdose of the substance he used is hard to detect in the body, because the substance is found naturally occurring in the body. The toxicologist had to devise a special test to finger the doctor. He was successful in this test.
The doctor was actually an experienced anaesthetist, so he knew what he was doing.
He had an acquittal in New Jersey on the charge of killing his lover’s husband, and he was not pegged as likely to win that case. He was likely expected to win the case the in Florida, but F. Lee Bailey could not get him off. There wasn’t any evidence in the public that she had died of unnatural causes, and the case looked kind of flimsy at best.
The prosecutor was patient, plodding, and working hard to convict him. The prosecutor showed that the doctor had the know-how, motive, and opportunity to commit the murder. In contrast, his lawyer seemed cocky. The prosecutor just kept moving forward with good information.
The prosecutor showed that the doctor had gotten a lethal amount of the substance about a month before he murdered his wife, and he had procured it from a friend, and he had said he was using it for animal experiments.
There was a witness that said the death was wrongly caused by a heart attack because the doctor had said his wife was suffering from chest pains earlier. He even called her father to claim how an autopsy had discovered that the heart attack was the cause of death, even though no autopsy had been undergone.
The prosecutor argued that his waning finances had been the cause of his murderous motive. Only three weeks before the death of his wife, the doctor increased his wife’s life insurance policy by $10,000.
The doctor had the opportunity to use the substance frequently, according to the prosecutor. He was an aesthesiologist, and he often used it on patients before their surgeries. He showed the jury that it was used on his wife as well, and that it was injected into her butt in a massively paralyzing dose, and that it killed her within minutes
There were a lot of pioneering experiments done by the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City, and a toxicologist, who was his aide, said that there were components of the drug in her liver and brain. F. Lee Bailey tried to refute the findings by calling in medical witnesses, but the New York toxicologist’s findings proved to be the final nail in the coffin for the doctor, and he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He only served 12 years in prison, though, because he got off for good behavior.
F. Lee Bailey boomed loudly that these experiments weren’t good enough to strike a defendant from the face of the earth. The jury returned a guilty verdict, and it was a crushing blow to F. Lee Bailey. He had gained fame and was bragging about his acquittals of Sam Sheppard and the doctor a year earlier for the murder of his neighbor. F. Lee Bailey liked to brag about having an impressive 19-string victory in homicide cases. However, with the conviction of the Boston Strangler and the doctor, he had two big losses. Those were some of his most high-profile cases. Even though he said he would appeal the verdict, a stunned doctor was led away from the courtroom to start a life prison sentence. He mumbled that he just didn’t understand.
F. Lee Bailey, up until that point, had had an impressive string of cases. However, the two losses of the doctor and the Boston Strangler really put a dent in his record. These two cases were some of his most impressive losses, and they’re remarked upon when discussing the career of F. Lee Bailey. Part of the reason why the case was so famous was because it came right on the heels of F. Lee Bailey’s win with the Sam Sheppard case. Sam Sheppard was also a doctor, and he had taken the case all the way to the Supreme Court. Sam Sheppard was accused of murdering his wife, and he was sent to prison, and then he was later acquitted by F. Lee Bailey. This case was a blow to F. Lee Bailey’s reputation because the doctor was acquitted of the first murder, and he was widely expected to win the second murder case. However, he lost, and it was a surprise and a shock to both F. Lee Bailey and the doctor. This was a landmark case in F. Lee Bailey’s career.