A former plastic surgeon convicted on circumstantial evidence of killing his wife finally gave a confession 20 years later that stunned prosecutors.
Robert Bierenbaum admitted he threw his wife's body out of an airplane and into the ocean nearly three decades ago during a parole hearing in December 2020, ABC News reported.
“I wanted her to stop yelling at me and I attacked her,” according to a transcript of the hearing obtained by ABC News.
The confession comes after his wife, Gail Katz, went missing in 1985 in Manhattan. Beirenbaum maintained his innocence after her disappearance and was not charged with murder until 2000.
Dan Bibb, one of the prosecutors on the case, told ABC, “I was stunned because I always thought that that day would never come, that he would own up, take responsibility for having killed his wife.”
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In the transcript, Bierenbaum admitted he strangled Katz before taking flight.
"I opened the door and then took her body out of the airplane over the ocean,” the transcript said, according to ABC.
He also admitted he was "immature" and didn't know how to control his anger.
According to the New York Times, Katz went missing on July 7, 1985, and her body was never found.
Bierenbaum was a suspect in the case for over a decade but police didn't have enough evidence to bring charges against him.
In the 15 years Katz was missing, the former surgeon remarried, had a daughter and started plastic surgery practices in Las Vegas and North Dakota.
On Oct. 24, 2000, a jury found Bierenbaum guilty of second-degree murder after prosecutors provided evidence he flew over the Atlantic Ocean on the day Katz went missing, according to the NYT.
The case was entirely circumstantial but was enough for Bierenbaum to be convicted. He made many attempts to have his conviction appealed but was unsuccessful.
His next parole hearing is in November, and he remains in prison, according to ABC.
Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Man confesses 20 years later to killing wife, throwing her into ocean