Driver questioned in slaying of millionaire developer

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GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) – Police investigating the slaying of millionaire developer Andrew Kissel have repeatedly questioned his driver, raising the possibility of a suicide-for-hire plot, an attorney said Saturday.

Kissel was found bound and fatally stabbed on April 3 in his Greenwich home, just a few days before he was scheduled to plead guilty in federal court in a multimillion-dollar real estate fraud case. He also was facing state larceny charges for allegedly taking $4 million from tenants in New York.

No one has been charged in his killing.

Police have said there was no sign of forced entry into the home, but have refused to discuss a possible motive or suspects. Telephone messages were left for police and prosecutors Saturday.

Lindy Urso, attorney for Kissel’s driver and personal assistant, Carlos Trujillo, said his client has been interviewed at least twice or three times by police and has given authorities DNA, fingerprints and personal documents. The driver maintains his innocence, Urso said.

“He fully cooperated,” Urso said. “They kept pressing him and accusing him. He had nothing to hide but because of the persistent accusations by law enforcement, he decided to seek counsel.”

News reports have quoted unidentified sources as speculating that Kissel – facing possible prison time – hired someone to kill him so his children could collect millions in insurance. Police would not comment on the theory, which Kissel’s father, William, has rejected as preposterous.

“My understanding is that’s the context in which they are questioning Carlos,” Urso said. “It’s my understanding that they accused him of participating in one or more ways in an effort I presume to get him to admit to some involvement.”

Urso said he considered the accusations to be a tactic.

“Obviously, he didn’t admit to anything because he didn’t do anything,” Urso said. “There is no indication they have any evidence.”

Authorities focused on the driver after discovering unusual financial transactions, such as selling jewelry, and his travel in and out of the country, The New York Post reported Saturday, citing an anonymous source.

Urso said Trujillo returned to his native Columbia in February after obtaining his Green Card. Urso said he knew nothing about unusual financial dealings.

“I don’t expect he’ll be arrested in this case,” Urso said. “My only concern is if they don’t find another suspect they might try to pin it on my client.”

Police have said they interviewed Kissel’s estranged wife, Hayley, and described her as cooperative. Her lawyers said she was focused on her children.

Andrew Kissel was the brother of Robert Kissel, who died three years ago in Hong Kong when his wife fed him a strawberry milkshake laced with poison and bludgeoned him to death with a statue.

Andrew Kissel was diagnosed last year with alcohol dependence, bipolar disorder, cocaine abuse, impulse control disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and anti-social personality disorder, according to a federal document from his court case.

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