Lyricist Gail Pappalardi on Trial for Murder of Husband Felix

People v. Pappalardi, 470 N.E.2d 876 (N.Y. 1984)

Felix Pappalardi was a record producer who worked with Eric Clapton and Joan Baez. He and his wife, Gail Collins Pappalardi, kept a series of live-in girlfriends, one of whom would describe the arrangement—while on the witness stand—as “a magnificent relationship.” Gail was less amenable to Felix’s exploits away from home, where he kept yet another mistress.

On April 17, 1983, Gail shot Felix once in the neck with a .38-caliber Derringer. Police recovered the weapon and pronounced Felix dead. Pappalardi was charged with second-degree murder.

Pappalardi took the stand twice in her own defense: the first time, she tearfully described her and her husband’s kinky sex life by reading passages from her diary; the second, she contended Felix was teaching her how to use the gun and it went off by accident.

The jury acquitted her of second-degree murder and manslaughter but found her guilty of criminally negligent homicide. She was released on parole in April 1985.