Iranian Sheila Davalloo arrived in America as a landed immigrant. Pretty, dark-haired and dark-eyed, Sheila had no problem attracting America men. What they didn’t know was that behind the flashing dark eyes and gentle smile was a woman who was deeply troubled by a nightmarish childhood. Growing up, Sheila witnessed continual violence; bombs were dropped in her backyard. By the mid-1970s the Davalloo family fled Iran for New York, settling in the suburb of Yorktown.
Sheila excelled in school. She graduated from Stoneybrook University with a biochemistry degree and married a family friend, Farrid Moussavi. Sheila enrolled in a masters program in public health at New York Medical College. There, she met graduate student Paul Cristos. Before long, Sheila began an affair with Cristos. When her husband discovered the affair, he filed for divorce. After graduation, Sheila married Cristos. Cristos began teaching classes in New York and Sheila began working at Purdu, one of the most prestigious drug companies in America. They bought a large condominium home in the posh suburb of Pleasantville. It seemed as though the young couple lived an idyllic life, however, long hours and commutes left the couple with little time for each other.
Sheila informed her husband that her schizophrenic brother would be arriving for a visit, and that he would be furious if he discovered his sister was married. Cristos agreed to remove his belongings from the apartment, during Sheila’s visits with her brother. Over time, these visits grew more frequent and by the spring of 2003, Cristos had had enough of the odd visits. In March of 2003, Sheila persuaded her husband to engage in lightly kinky sex, with Sheila handcuffing her husband to a chair and blindfolding him. Sheila cut Cristos with a knife, causing him to bleed profusely. Pretending to have lost the handcuff key, Sheila claimed she called 9-1-1, watching her husband sitting in the chair bleeding and growing weaker. An hour later, Sheila told Cristos she found the handcuff key, unlocked him, and the two got into her car, heading toward a local hospital.
Enroute, Sheila took an abrupt detour into an abandoned parking lot. She opened the back door of her car where her husband lay and stabbed him in the chest. Cristos managed to get the knife away from his wife but the two continued to struggle with each other. Bystanders noticed and rushed to assist Cristos, whereupon Sheila jumped into her car and sped away. Police gave chase, and Sheila returned to the parking lot, trying to push Cristos back into her car. Police arrived before Sheila could succeed, and brought her to the Stamford Police Department. Sheila insisted the stab wound was accidental. Police disagreed. She was arrested for aggravated assault and locked up.
During Sheila’s interrogation, police learned that Sheila was having an affair with yet another man, a colleague named Nelson Sessler. Stunned, Sessler admitted he had no idea Sheila was married, anymore than Cristos knew Sessler was the supposed “schizophrenic brother.” Sessler informed police that he’d been dating Sheila since 2002, but he broke off their relationship to date another co-worker, Anna Lisa Raymundo. Tragically, Raymundo was stabbed to death in an unsolved murder, in her Stamford apartment on November 8, 2002. Sheila was guilty of both aggravated assault, and murder.
Sheila testified she had a mental illness and was unaware of her actions the night she attacked her husband. Prosecutors insisted Sheila was well aware of her actions and coldly planned her husband’s murder. Sheila was found guilty of attempt murder and the first-degree murder of Anna Lisa Raymundo. She received a 50-year prison sentence.