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A rabbi serving 30 years to life in his wife’s contract killing has died, prison officials say

TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey rabbi serving a decadeslong sentence in a 1994 murder-for-hire plot targeting his wife has died.

Fred Neulander, 82, was pronounced dead shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday at a hospital in Trenton after he was found unresponsive in his cell in the New Jersey State Prison infirmary, news outlets reported, citing the state department of corrections.

A cause of death wasn’t immediately released. Neulander was listed on the New Jersey corrections inmate locator Saturday as “deceased.”

Neulander — founding rabbi of the Congregation M’kor Shalom synagogue in Cherry Hill, which merged two years ago with nearby Temple Emanuel — was sentenced to 30 years to life in January 2003 after he was convicted by a jury of having hired two men to kill his wife. An earlier trial ended with a hung jury.

Carol Neulander, 52, a mother of three, was beaten to death in her Cherry Hill home in November 1994. Prosecutors alleged that the hit men received $30,000 for the kill and were told to make it look like a robbery that turned violent.

Prosecutors alleged that Neulander arranged the slaying in order to continue an affair with another woman. Neulander maintained that the two men acted on their own and were motivated by robbery. Both were released from prison after serving 23-year terms.

An appellate court denied Neulander’s appeal in 2012 and the New Jersey Supreme Court did the same in 2016.

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