The framed wedding certificate that had hungover the bed of Gail Pappalardi and herslain rockstar husband, Felix, was found ripped to pieces in their posh East Side apartment, it was revealed yesterday.
The pieces were discovered lying on a desk, where the .38 caliber handgun with which Pappalardi was killed also was found.
Felix Pappalardi's 40-year old songwriter wife is accused of murdering her husband, a '60's rock golden boy, in a jealous rage.
The prosecution claims the torn certificate supports that contention. Gail Pappalardi insists she shot her husband by accident.
On the second day of her testimony here, Mrs. Pappalardi swore that the destruction of the wedding certificate was another accident - and that it had been ripped by Felix himself.
She said Pappalardi tore it when he was clearing a desk of old papers. The certificate had been taken out of it's temporary frame so it could be reframed, she told the court.
"He had a habit of tearing up papers he was about to throw away," she said.
Earlier, there was a dramatic moment when Mrs. Pappalardi refused to touch the tiny silver Derringer with which she shot her husband, the former leader and bass guitarist of the rock group Mountain.
Miss Barden, the prosecutor, had a court officer place the gun in front of her.
Mrs. Pappalardi stared at the gun and, recoiling, sobbed "I can't touch that gun, I cant, I can't touch that."
She put her head in her hands and began to weep and a 15 minute recess - one of several breaks in her testimony - was called for her to compose herself.
She again went thru the fatal moments when she shot her husband. She has said she was afraid of guns and complained to her husband about having them lying around.
The rock performer insisted she handle the weapon to conquer her fear. During the dawn lesson, the gun went off.
"Time stood still," she told the Manhattan Supreme Court jury.
"I realized Felix had been hit. I could not remember my own name at that point."
The trial has centered on whether Mrs. Pappalardi was jealous of her husband's extra-marital sexual partners. Mrs. Pappalardi has claimed several times that each was tolerant of the other's sex-ploits outside marraige.
"He sometimes minded me seeing other people. I sometimes minded him seeing other people. Life is not always perfect," she said.
Of one relationship, with a woman referred to only as Patti, Mrs.appalardi said: "I was the one who urged him to see her because she had a calming effect on him."
Miss Barden asked her: "Did their affair hurt you?"
She answered: "Not at all. We were very close friends."
"Were you sexually involved with anyone else in 1983?" the prosefcutor asked. Said Mrs. Pappalardi: "I'm sure I was, but I don't remember."
The defense rested it's case yesterday. The prosecution will call rebuttal witnesses Monday and the case is expected to go to the jury next week.
Rock Star and Wife
"Had Open Marraige"
By Mike Pearl
New York Post, Sept. 15, 1983
Rock star Felix Pappalardi and his wife had "an open, casual sort of relationship" a close friend of the couple testified today. "From time to time they each had sex with other people, but it was no big deal. They even made jokes about it," claimed James Mosher, an entertainment lawyer who said he and the couple had been friends since 1976.
Mrs. Pappalardi is accused of murdering her husband, a Sixties rock star, in a jealous rage over his sexploits with other women.
The defense attorneys claim the shooting was accidental, and that there was no jealousy between the couple, despite infidelities.
Later today Mrs. Pappalardi is expected to tell her own version of the couple's sex life - and of the shooting that led to her husband's death. Defense witness Mosher told the jury that 2 weeks before he was killed April 17, Pappalardi told him he broke off his relationshipwith his mistress, Valerie Merians. Pappalardi had spent the night of his death with her.
Asked by defense lawyer Neil Comer what Pappalardi had thought of Miss Merians, Mosher replied: "He thought she was a flake."
He admitted that occasionally the couple's relationship was stormy and that husband and wife shouted at each other, but Mosher insisted that much of it was "kidding around."
He said the couple had "pseudo, macho, pseudo violent forms of address to each other." Mosher offered as an example: "If you don't do this, I'll put your lights out." But he added: "They would say it jokingly like the Cramdens on 'The Honeymooners' where Ralph would tell his wife 'I'm gonna send you to the moon.' "
Mosher said Felix was an expert with guns.
"But Gail didn't like them at all. She was extremely unhappy that he kept guns in the apartment," he testified.
Yesterday, a John Travolta look-alike who had a sex tryst with Mrs. Pappalardi claimed that she and Pappalardi had three-way sex with another woman.
Frank DeLuca, 34, a darkly handsome actor who resembles Travolta, testified that the couple had a sexually open marraige and that three-way trysts took place at their East Side apartment, in a midtown hotel and on Nantucket Island. He said he spent a night with Gail and that Pappalardi knew of the event and expressed no jealousy.
He stunned the courtroom by saying that a woman named Norma Maye and the Pappalardis slept three in a bed in a Nantucket holiday homewhile he - DeLuca - slept downstairs.
"Did you ever see the three of them in bed together?" asked defense lawyer Comer.
"Yes," DeLuca replied shyly.