Howard Jacobson on Trial for Murder of Lover’s Boyfriend

People v. Jacobson, 440 N.Y.S.2d 458 (Sup. Ct. 1981)

A high school dropout from Brooklyn, Howard “Buddy” Jacobson made millions as a well-regarded horse trainer, but life as a wealthy husband and father was unfulfilling to him. In 1968, the 37-year-old left his family in Queens so he could embrace the Sexual Revolution. He then earned a fortune in real estate, packing the buildings he owned with beautiful, single female tenants.

One of these women was 18-year-old Melanie Cain, a model who believed Jacobson when he said he was 29, rather than his actual age of 43. For five years, the two of them were an item, until Jack Tupper, age 34, charmed Cain away.

On August 6, 1978, Jacobson murdered Tupper. Jacobson’s trial lasted 11 weeks and attracted a great deal of media attention during the time. He was convicted of murder on April 12, 1980, but, on May 30, days before his sentencing, he escaped the Brooklyn House of Detention by having an acquaintance impersonate his lawyer and smuggle him a suit. Jacobson walked out posing as an attorney. He was captured in California on July 11. His 40 days of freedom earned him seven extra years in prison, on top of 25 years to life.