April 12, 2023
A Sellersville man will spend 22 to 44 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing his wife last October, Bucks County prosecutors said.
Stephen Capaldi, 57, was charged in December with killing Beth Capaldi, 55, and dismembering her body before he disposed of her remains at several locations in the region. The couple's daughter had reported Capaldi missing on Oct. 12, prompting an extensive search that continued for weeks until investigators narrowed in on Stephen.
Beth had last been seen at the couple's home near the intersection of High and E. Church streets. At the time of her disappearance, personal items including her car, keys and cell phone were still at home, but her purse, some clothing and other belongings were missing.
Stephen initially denied any involvement in his wife's death. He eventually agreed to provide information to investigators in exchange for lesser charges. Some of Beth's remains were found along the Delaware River shoreline at Hog Island in Tinicum Township, near the Philadelphia airport.
Prosecutors said Stephen strangled and smothered Beth with a pillow in their bedroom on the morning of Oct. 10. He dismembered her body in the basement the next day before disposing of the remains at the Hog Island site and in a dumpster in Lansdale, police said.
The couple had been married for 30 years prior to Beth's death. There had never been any prior calls to the couple's home for domestic abuse, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said.
Testimony contained in a grand jury report revealed Stephen had claimed he and his wife had an argument prior to her disappearance. He had told investigators that Beth left their home to "prove a point," authorities said. The grand jury found no evidence confirming Stephen's claims about the circumstances of his wife's disappearance, stating that he "was unraveling and had been caught in numerous lies."
Stephen pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, abuse of a corpse, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and related offenses. In addition to the state prison sentence, he has been ordered to pay $8,308.50 in restitution to his daughter, Emma, for funeral expenses.
He must also undergo a mental health evaluation and may not contact his daughter unless she chooses to contact him.
“My mother is dead, and my father killed her,” Emma Capaldi said during a victim impact statement on Tuesday. “I have the love of friends, family, even strangers, but my own father took the person who loved me most.”