Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Trophy Wife and the Tennis Pro

Money, Money, Money

Although Debra had been quick to file insurance claims after her husband's murder, the two companies that had insured Werner Hartmann's life weren't paying, at least not until Debra Hartmann, the beneficiary of the three policies, which totaled $1 million because of the double-indemnity clauses, was cleared of any involvement.

Debra filed suit against both companies.

In the meantime, there was another shooting at the house where Werner had been murdered.

On Sept. 23, 1983, police again responded to the Hartmann residence. This time they found John Korabik shot in both thighs, but alive. Korabik told the cops that he'd shot himself by accident. Debra was home at the time of the shooting, but claimed she'd been in another part of the house when the shots were fired. The story seemed thin to the investigating officers, especially given that Korabik had worked in a gun store and was considered a firearms expert.

Soon after the shooting, Debra and Korabik broke up.

In January 1984, a year and a half after Werner's murder, Debra settled her suit with the insurance companies for at least $450,000, although some sources reported the settlement sum to be as high as $700,000. In any event, Debra now had a big chunk of cash, but she had been piling up debts and was forced to sell the Northbrook house. She moved into a much more modest single-story home, but soon hired a carpenter to add a second level, a cathedral ceiling, a skylight, and a grand spiral staircase. After completing much of the work, the carpenter walked off the job because Debra wouldn't pay him.

She also bought a Mercedes-Benz, complete with a personalized Illinois license plate that read Debra 2.

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