Three Men Sentenced For Insurance Money Murder

Other defendants face prison for manslaughter, weapons, assault, and child pornography charges

Ryan Shover, 46, of York, PA, Paul Disabatino, 55, of Wilmington, and Michael Kman, 53, of Enola, PA, three of the men involved in a murder plot for insurance money have received prison sentences in Delaware Superior Court. In February 2013, 43-year-old Wayne Cappelli of Claymont was attacked on Delaview Avenue in the Silvercroft neighborhood, and killed with a baseball bat as he walked home from his job. The investigation revealed that three friends, Michael Kman, David Hess and Paul Disabatino, had talked Cappelli into taking out a life insurance policy. In November 2012, Cappelli made Disabatino the beneficiary of the $360,000 policy, with the intent that Disabatino would look after Cappelli’s child. Kman enlisted Shover to commit the murder and be paid $30,000 from the insurance benefits. After the murder, Disabatino, with the aid of Kman, attempted to collect the insurance money, but the effort failed as a result of the criminal investigation. Eventually, Chancery Court awarded the money in trust to Cappelli’s child. In February 2018, a Superior Court jury convicted Shover of 2 counts of Murder First Degree (one intentional murder and one felony murder), 2 counts of Possession of a Deadly Weapon During Commission of a Felony, Insurance Fraud and Conspiracy First Degree. Shover was sentenced Friday to 2 life terms plus 15 years in prison. Disabatino pled guilty in January 2016 to Criminally Negligent Homicide, Insurance Fraud and Conspiracy First Degree and on Friday received 10 years in prison followed by probation. Kman pled guilty to Murder Second Degree, Insurance Fraud and Conspiracy 1st Degree in December 2017 and was sentenced on Friday to 30 years in prison followed by probation, but his sentence will not begin until he completes a 6 to 12-year sentence for Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse in Pennsylvania as well as a 15-year federal criminal sentence for Child Pornography. Hess pled guilty in January 2016 to Criminally Negligent Homicide, Insurance Fraud and Conspiracy First Degree and received a 5-year prison sentence in May 2017. Deputy Attorneys General John Downs and Danielle Brennan prosecuted the case, with DOJ Paralegal Stacey Coupe and DOJ Investigator Cliff Dempsey. Sgt. Tom Orzechowski of New Castle County Police was the lead investigator. DOJ Social Worker Courtney Cochran supported the victim’s family through the investigation and trial.

A 2017 shooting led to a 16-year prison sentence for a Laurel teenager. In January 2017, Stephon Jackson, 19, shot and killed 18-year-old Mekell Horsey while at the Wexford Village Apartment Complex on Sunset Drive in Laurel. Jackson pled guilty in February 2018 to Manslaughter, 3 counts of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, and one count of Reckless Endangering 1st Degree. A Superior Court judge sentenced Jackson to 16 years in prison followed by 6 months of work release then 2 years of probation. Deputy Attorneys General Casey Ewart and Kevin Gardner prosecuted the case with assistance from social worker Laurel Braunstein and administrative specialist Angelique Waters. Detective Jon King of the Delaware State Police Homicide Unit was the lead investigator.

A 38-year-old Newark man with multiple previous convictions faces at least 50 years in prison when sentenced for cutting a woman while trying to steal her car. Deputy Attorney General John Taylor secured a guilty plea from James Branch to charges of Attempted Car Jacking and Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony. In September 2017, Branch tried to climb into a woman’s car in the parking lot of the Shop Rite supermarket in the 500 block of South Walnut Street in Wilmington. During a struggle, Branch cut the woman on her elbow, thigh, and lower leg. The victim managed to escape and run back into the supermarket. Branch, who has previous convictions on robbery, assault, kidnapping, and conspiracy charges, faces a minimum mandatory 50 years in prison because of his habitual offender status when sentenced by a Superior Court judge in July.

Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Song secured a guilty plea to assault and weapons offenses from a Wilmington man who stabbed the employee of a convenience store. In July 2017, Jose Caraballo, 37, got into an argument with an employee of Scott Market at the intersection of West 5th and North Scott streets in the city. The fight became physical and Caraballo stabbed the victim twice in the torso with a 4-inch-long knife. Caraballo, barred from possessing a deadly weapon because of previous felony convictions for charges including drug, assault, and robbery offenses, pled guilty to Assault Second Degree, Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of Assault Second Degree, and Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited. Caraballo faces between 10 years and life in prison when sentenced by a Superior Court judge in August. Corporal Fred Chaitt and Officers Devon Streett and Alexander Marino of the Wilmington Police Department were integral in the investigation of this case.

A 32-year-old Newark man will spend the next 9 years in prison after his sentencing on child pornography charges. In March 2017, members of the Child Predator Task Force executed a search warrant at the home of Justin Eggleston after obtaining information from an online service that he had uploaded multiple images of child pornography. A forensic examination of his devices revealed additional images and videos. A Superior Court judge sentenced Eggleston for his December 2017 guilty plea to 2 counts of Dealing in Child Pornography and 2 counts of Possession of Child Pornography to 9 years in prison, followed by 6 months of either work release or home confinement, then 3 years of probation. Eggleston must also register as a Tier 2 sex offender.

Deputy Attorney General Karin Volker secured a 7-year prison sentence for a Bear man who threatened and tortured his pregnant girlfriend over the course of three days. In June 2017, Michael Simmons began fighting with the victim over pictures in her cellphone. Over the next two nights, Simmons punched and kicked the woman several times, strangled her, and threatened her with a knife. Simmons, who was on probation for a Terroristic Threatening conviction at the time of the crime, pled guilty in November 2017 to Assault Second Degree, Strangulation, and Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony. A Superior Court judge sentenced Simmons to 7 years in prison, followed by 6 months of either home confinement or work release, then 2 years of probation, including GPS monitoring.