The murder of John Frankowski Senior was brutal and as cold-blooded as they come. The killer brazenly bragged about his crime to his own mother, his description of the murder caught on voicemail.
There's no dispute Jonathan Roman killed his uncle, but did he murder for his mother? That's the startling claim of this family in what has turned into a blood feud over an inheritance.
Kim Delaney's father John Frankowski Sr. was killed in an apparent dispute over money in 2014.
Frankowski was looking forward to retirement at his home on Long Island.
When Kim Delaney's and her brother John Junior's grandmother Helen died, their father John Sr., became the executor of her estate worth a little more than $200,000. John Sr. was supposed to split the money evenly with his two sisters, Annmarie Porter and Sandra Roman, Kim's aunts.
Kim and her husband Kevin say the aunts claimed it was taking too long distribute the proceeds of Helen's estate, so they sent Jonathan Roman over to intimidate his uncle. Kim believes they wanted her father dead too. In a civil suit, Kim claims her dad "was murdered at the direction of his sister, defendant Sandra Roman."
Kim says her killer cousin, Sandra's son, was a puppet of what she calls a "money-grubbing family cabal."
Police say Jonathan Roman snuck up on John Frankowski Sr., beat him up, put his hands around his throat and choked him to death. Roman hid the body in the basement of the grandmother's house. Roman took the body to the woods behind his mom's house and dug a shallow grave.
All the time Kim was frantically looking for her dad, never realizing he was already dead. Eight days later her aunt called to give her the horrifying news.
"She just said 'I'm so sorry, your father and Jonathan got in an altercation, he fell down the stairs and didn't make it,' and she hung up," said Kim.
Attorney Bob Abrams says he has evidence Sandra may have known about the murder in a voicemail Sandra left for John Junior.
"We heard this voicemail and it took a while for us to realize that, Holy Cow, there's something before Sandra starts speaking, and it's Jonathan describing the brutal beating he gave to his uncle," said Abrams.
Nassau County Police say there is no evidence that anyone but Jonathan Roman was involved in the murder of his uncle.
Sandra Roman told the New York Daily News her son confessed to her, saying: "Mommy, I did it. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
The murder in the Long Island suburb sounds almost like a scene from a Shakespearean tragedy: A nephew brutally kills his uncle in a fight over an inheritance.
Kim Delaney and her brother John Frankowski Junior are claiming in a civil suit against their aunts Sandra and Annmarie that Sandra, the killer's mother, ordered the hit, and that the aunts "conspired to kidnap and kill John S. Frankowski Senior and then hide his body so he could no longer administer the estate."
Kim's aunts have never been charged criminally and they deny the allegations in the lawsuit.
Jonathan Roman's defense attorney told a Long Island newspaper the argument that led to Frankowski's murder was "fueled by (Roman's) ongoing struggle with drugs and alcohol." And that "Jonathan is extremely remorseful for the devastating outcome of his actions."
Roman admitted he killed his uncle and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Crime Watch Daily went to Sandra Roman's house to get her side of the story. I walk up to her door. It's open. Someone is home. I ring the bell but a woman closes the door in my face.
At the end of the day this is a family torn apart forever by the actions of a selfish man.
Jonathan Roman was sentenced to 18 years to life in a New York prison.
While the civil suit continues, Kim Delaney tells Crime Watch Daily they asked the Nassau County District Attorney to criminally investigate her claims that other family members were involved in John Sr.'s death. However, she says they told her as of right now the case is closed, the investigation was thorough, and barring any new evidence they don't believe the aunts had any involvement at this time.
UPDATE March 23, 2017: After sentencing, Roman's attorney released a statement saying his client's actions were "fueled by his ongoing struggle with drugs and alcohol."
However, John's family is not buying it, and believes the negotiated plea deal that Roman agreed to actually was made to protect others.