The Murdered Louis J. Costanza

The Murdered
Louis J. Costanza
Clifton, New Jersey

Louis Costanza was 49 years old when he was found shot to death in the bedroom of his home in Clifton, New Jersey on November 9th, 1971 at 5:00pm. He was a wealthy paving contractor and a well-known man in the area. Louis was found by his business partner Roland VanderKamp, along with police. He was married to his 44 year old wife of 10 years, Rose Costanza at the time. He had three children from his previous marriage, Louis Jr., Barry, and Beverly. Barry was only 14 years old at the time and says he was the last one to see his father before he died. Katherine told police that her former husband had been visiting her home to see their children, and he left her house at 11:30 p.m. to return home.
In a lawsuit against Rose filed by his first wife Katherine in 1974, seeking damages for Louis’ wrongful death, it is stated that Rose is a suspect in Louis’s murder. It is believed she shot her husband around midnight on November 8th. The suit rested largely on the charge that Rose had murdered her husband. This lawsuit was seeking to deprive Rose of the 10 pieces of property she stood to inherit and $40,000 of his $52,000 life insurance policy. The 10 pieces of property were worth $1 million. His estate was valued at $700,000.
“He could not satisfy her exorbitant demands in money and sex,” a quote from the opening statement of Mr. William Barnes Jr., a lawyer for present and former members of the Costanza family. 
Rose denied the charge, saying she was not home at the time the incident occurred. She says she left for Secaucus NJ at 11:15 p.m. She claims she first tried to wake up her brother at his home, looking for a place to spend the night. When she was unable to rouse her brother from sleep, she then attempted to go to her friend Marie’s home. Rose was also unable to wake up her sleeping friend, so she spent the night with her daughter Cheryl in Hackensack NJ instead. Cheryl said her mother arrived at the apartment at 12:50 a.m. 
Mr. Barnes stated he has proof that Louis was about to divorce Rose and return to his first wife and children. He offered Rose half a million dollars to divorce him, and she declined his proposition on several occasions, unsatisfied.  It was brought up that Rose had threatened to report her husband to the IRS, and also publicly threatened his life. 
Attorney Leonard Meyerson, Rose’s lawyer, told the jury that the plaintiff’s lack an eyewitness to the murder, and mentioned that there was no murder weapon at the scene. 
Louis Costanza was shot at close range at least four times in the chest, but police did not locate the pistol used in the slaying. Efforts were made to find the gun, including Katherine hiring a popular psychic. This psychic made claims of the murder weapon being thrown in a river in Secaucus, NJ by Route 3. The river was searched but no weapon was ever found. Weirdly, this was the town where Rose originated from, and the town she claims she was in on the night of the murder.
Mr. Barnes made claims that Cheryl and Rose’s friend Marie Baumann had conspired to provide a consistent alibi for Rose. He also stated that in Marie’s first statement to the police, she said that she and Rose spoke on the front steps of her Secaucus apartment that night. 
There are some clear inconsistencies with the stories of everyone involved.  
At the end of the trial, it was decided there was no “suitable proof of the serious charge presented by the plaintiffs.”
The police were suspicious of Rose and what really happened that night, but due to only having circumstantial evidence, a murder charge was never filed against her.
Unfortunately, this case is still considered unsolved.

Thank you to Barry, who took the time to help me piece everything together about his beloved father.

I give my condolences to Barry and the rest of the Costanza family.



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