Former plastic surgeon confessed to killing wife, throwing her body out of a plane - report
- Robert Bierenbaum confessed to killing his wife Gail Katz in 1984.
- The New York surgeon was an experienced pilot.
- Bierenbaum said he strangled Katz and dumped her body in the ocean, in a transcript of the hearing obtained by ABC News.
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Dr. Robert Bierenbaum, a former plastic surgeon from New York convicted of murdering his wife in 2000, confessed to killing her and then throwing her body out of an airplane and into the Atlantic ocean after decades of maintaining his innocence.
Bierenbaum, now 66, convicted of the murder in 2000 under circumstantial evidence, had continually denied any involvement in her death, told a parole hearing in December 2020 that he killed his wife Gail Katz in 1985. He said it was because he was "immature" and couldn't "deal with his anger."
"I wanted her to stop yelling at me and I attacked her," Bierenbaum said in a transcript of the hearing obtained by ABC News.
Bierenbaum, who is also an experienced pilot, continued to say that he "strangled" his wife and then "went flying."
"I opened the door and then took her body out of the airplane over the ocean," the transcript read.
Gail Katz's body has never been found.
Prosecutors who convicted Bierenbaum in 2000 were stunned by his admission to the parole board especially since they had presented the same exact theory about Gail Katz's death during the original trial against Bierenbaum.
A 1999 story about the case in The New York Times reported that authorities believed Bierenbaum spent hours dismembering Katz's body before taking a plane out over the ocean and dumping the body between Montauk Point, New York, and Cape May, New Jersey.
"I was like 'Holy shit are you kidding me?'" Dan Bibb, a former Manhattan assistant district attorney who prosecuted Bierenbaum in 2000, said.
Bibb continued: "The Bierenbaum story when you get right down to it is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde... this guy was a psychopath."
Bierenbaum and Katz first met in the early 1980s. At the time, she was a college student while he was already a qualified surgeon. And he had been known to take women out for romantic plane rides.
Gail Katz's sister, Alayne Katz, told ABC's 2020 that at first, the couple's relationship had seemed "magical," but over time Bierenbaum became controlling and violent.
On the surface, Robert Bierenbaum seemed to have it all â€“ he was a surgeon, a skilled skier, a gourmet chef and an expert pilot. But over time, a darker side began to emerge. | The new #ABC2020 premieres Friday at 9/8c on @ABC. Stream next day on @Hulu. https://t.co/MDFN9cyhc2 pic.twitter.com/KuTSSaAjJ4— 20/20 (@ABC2020) October 21, 2021
Alayne said one day she received a call from her sister after Bierenbaum had tried to drown her cat in the toilet of their Upper East Side apartment. One night, Alayne Katz said Bierenbaum choked Gail after caught her smoking on their balcony. Gail Katz reported the incident to police but Bierenbaum was never charged.
"If this had happened in 2021 … Robert Bierenbaum would have been in handcuffs immediately," Bibb added. "The fact that this was  ... nothing was done about it."
After killing Katz in 1985, Bierenbaum told her family and police that they had had a fight at their apartment and Katz stormed off and never returned. Bierenbaum continued to live his life with relative normality attending parties in the Hamptons and dating other women.
By 1990, Bierenbaum had relocated to Las Vegas and opened a plastic surgery practice there, ABC News reported.
Bierenbaum remains in prison. According to ABC News, his next parole hearing is scheduled for November.
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