A woman is claiming that her brother had his wife killed 33 years ago while their daughter was just feet away in their luxury New York City apartment.
Ann Boyarsky said in an affidavit that her brother Franklin Mark played a role in the 1982 murder of his wife Gail while she was home with their daughter Dawn, who was just 3-years-old at the time.
In addition to the murder, she also alleged that Franklin coerced their mother Marcia into giving Dawn $10million in gifts during the final four years of her life as well as a sizable portion of her estate following her death.
‘It was common knowledge in the family that my brother Franklin Mark was responsible for the death of Gail Mark in 1982,’ Boyarsky said in the affidavit, submitted as part of an ongoing legal battle over their late mother’s estate and obtained by DNA Info.
‘It was believed that he hired a hitman to kill his wife.’
Gail was just 28-years-old when she was found dead inside her apartment in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood on December 30 shortly before noon.
She had been strangled and repeatedly stabbed while Dawn was locked in a nearby bathroom.
The 3-year-old would later tell police that ‘E.T. did it,’ which they took to mean that the assailant had put on an E.T. mask the young girl had in the apartment.
The New York Times wrote at the time; ‘The body of the woman, identified by the police as Gail Mark, was found at about 11:30 A.M. by her husband, Franklin Mark, in the couple’s duplex apartment at 154 East 28th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues. The daughter, Dawn, was found unharmed.
‘According to Alice T. McGillion, deputy police commissioner for public information, Mr. Mark had left for work at about 7 A.M. and returned to pick up his wife to go shopping.’
Police at the time had no idea how the intruder had managed to get into the apartment as the windows were barred and there were no signs of forced entry.
Franklin, now 64, was immediately eyed as a suspect due to the fact that he and his wife had a tempestuous relationship, but was never charged.
Police at first thought robbery was the motive due to the fact that Gail’s pocketbook had been emptied, but nothing was taken from the apartment.
There were also questions about where her body was found as though she was on the ground there was a large amount of blood pooled on the bed, which seemed to suggest the body had been moved before police arrived on the scene.
NYPD Detective Michael Abruzzi – who was one of the first investigators on the scene – said it looked like a crime of passion, especially since there was a pillow covering Gail’s face.
‘When someone knows the person who is murdered, after the rage is over, the suspect covers the face of the victim,’ said Abruzzi said.
‘It’s typical remorse.’
Franklin was also discovered to have a cut on his hand that was scabbing a few days after his wife’s murder, but he claimed he had injured himself at work.
All the leads were eventually dead ends, and according to Boyarsky her brother was shielded from the police by their wealthy parents, who had made millions in the garment business as the owners of Helvetia Sewing Machines Sales Corporation.
The case was briefly reopened in 2000 after a neighbor inquired about the unsolved murder, but a two year investigation turned up no new evidence and attempts to DNA test the E.T. mask and a sample of carpet were impossible when it was discovered that the mask had been destroyed and the carpet sample lost.
Gail’s sister Joan Fitzgerald also said she suspected something awful might happen in the days before the murder, and that she warned Gail about Franklin.
‘I said, “You are going to end up on the front cover of the New York Post.” And she laughed,’ said Joan of a conversation she had with Gail.
This was one week before the murder, a crime that Joan said she did eventually learn of when she read the paper.
Joan and Gail’s mother Rita were also cut off from Dawn following Gail’s murder, with Franklin even hiding the young girl from the women at her mother’s funeral.
‘The fact that Franklin wouldn’t let me see my only grandchild really broke me up,’ said Rita.
She eventually took Franklin to family court and won, but he responded by moving with Dawn to New Jersey which forced Rita to sue again for visitation, something she did not have the money for by that point.
Franklin later remarried and had three more children with a woman who Dawn refers to as her mother on Facebook.
Dawn – who is married and has a young daughter – also refers to his father’s wife’s mother as her grandmother.
The 36-year-old attended Dalton, the elite private school in New York City, as a child, then went on to University of Albany and Pace Law School.
She now works as a judge for the New York State Department of Labor.
Dawn and her family live in a brownstone in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens that she paid just over $2million for in 2012, money her aunts claim she received by taking advantage of her dying grandmother Marcia Mark.
Boyarsky and Sharon Levine claim in a court filing in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court that Franklin and Dawn not only convinced Marcia to give $10million in gifts to her granddaughter in her final years, but also to change her will in 2010 leaving $8million to the United States Holocaust Museum and the remainder of her $23million estate to Dawn.
Marcia passed away on February 11, 2014 at the age of 88 according to her obituary.
Boyarsky is now hoping the court will depose her brother’s lawyer Mitchell Lapidus to see if Franklin ever said anything about his wife’s death in hopes it will strengthen her case over their mother’s estate.
For Rita Fitzgerald however, the woman who lost her daughter over 30 years ago, she would just like to see justice.
‘If you kill someone, you should pay the penalty,’ said Rita.
‘I love my daughter very much, and she didn’t deserve to be killed.’