On the evening of November 1, 2006, Andrew Ostroy found his wife, Adrienne Shelly, strangled with a bed sheet, hanging from a curtain rod in an apartment she used as an office in Manhattan. The death appeared to be suicide. Adrienne was the adoring mother of a two year old child, wife, actress, talented director and screen writer. Her family did not believe she would take her own life. Ostroy was adamant, “My wife, Adrienne Shelly...did not kill herself.” (1) A dusty footprint on the toilet revealed the truth of Adrienne’s death at the hands of Diego Pillco, an illegal immigrant from Ecuador.
Pillco said Adrienne complained about construction noise and threatened to call the police. He followed her into her apartment. She fought him. He struck her until she was unconscious on the floor. Pillco claimed he thought Adrienne was dead. Pillco then choked her with a bed sheet and knotted it around the curtain rod, killing her by strangulation. (2) Pillco confessed to murdering Adrienne and staging it to look like a suicide because he feared deportation.
In the courtroom, Pillco told a different story. His intended to rob Adrienne. He followed her into her apartment, stealing money from her purse. Adrienne fought back, scratching Pillco’s face. He punched her until she was unconscious. With chilling calculation, he made it appear she hung herself. (2) Police believe he intended to sexually assault her.
Adrienne’s family expressed anger in the sentencing hearing. Shelly’s mother said to Pillco, “…You have taken her from us, and for that there can never be any forgiveness.” Ostroy had much harsher words for his wife’s slayer. (3)
In a deal negotiated with the Manhattan district attorney, Pillco pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter, avoiding a jury trial. He was sentenced to a fixed 25 years in prison.
Pillco will be released when he is 45 years old. Adrienne Shelly was 40 years old when Pillco took her from her family, friends and fans.
1. Husband: Actress wife's death suspicious By Jeff Pegue
2. Actress Set Off Illegal's 'Killer' Rage by Calling Him an 'S.O.B.' By Larry Celona, Murray Weiss, and Dan Mangan
3. Shelly's Husband Launches Attack On Killer In Court