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Convicted killer could inherit victim's assets

By Marina Landis, CNN
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Is killer entitled to victim's fortune?
  • A convicted killer could inherit his victims assets, minimally valued at $250,000
  • The deceased wife of the killer is the sole inheritor of his mother-in-law's assets
  • Man pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in exchange for a plea deal

New York (CNN) -- A man imprisoned for killing his mother-in-law in 2008 could soon inherit his victim's assets, valued at a minimum of $250,000, authorities said.

The strange twist of fate was made possible after the death of Deanna Palladino, wife of convicted killer Brandon Palladino and sole inheritor of her slain mother's assets, according to Suffolk County court documents.

The money she inherited from her mother, Dianne Edwards, could soon become the inheritance of her husband, who is awaiting formal sentencing for Edwards' killing at Suffolk County jail in Long Island, New York, according to District Attorney spokesman Robert Clifford.

Palladino pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter on October 12, in exchange for a plea deal, Clifford said.

He is expected to face up to 25 years in prison, Clifford added.

But the possibility that Palladino could become the new owner of Edwards' assets has outraged some of Edwards' family members.

"He's going to benefit from this crime, he's going to profit from a murder," said Donna Larsen, Edwards' sister. "When he gets out of jail and is in his 40s, he's going to have a quarter-million dollars to move on with his life after murdering somebody."

Edwards' brother-in-law, Andy Larsen, said, "It's terrible that you have to fight a killer for the victim's assets when he's a confessed murderer and he's going to be profiting from the crime."

Repeated attempts to reach Palladino's attorney, Raymond Perini, for comment were not successful.

Dennis Lemke, an attorney advising Larsen, said he is going to do "whatever is necessary to make sure the money doesn't get into the hands of the murderer."

He said "a person can't benefit from their own criminal conduct, so the Larsens have to prove that the daughter was in fact involved in Edwards' murder."

Police would not comment whether Deanna Palladino was suspected in the death of her mother, and did not provide evidence that supports Lemke's allegation.