Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Trophy Wife and the Tennis Pro

"Double Indemnity"

Movie poster: Double Indemnity
Movie poster: Double Indemnity

The investigators next turned their attention to Werner's Prudential insurance agent, Harvey Loochtan, whom they suspected might have been involved in the plot.

Sure enough, telephone records showed a phone circle: Debra to Loochtan, Debra to Korabik, and Debra to Kaenel; then Kaenel to Korabik, and Korabik to Loochtan. Investigators uncovered an entire series of calls before and after Werner's murder.

The investigators decided to interview Harvey Loochtan. "We chose Harvey because he was the weakest personality in the group," Delorto explained. "He was a ball of mush. When it hit the fan, he gave it up."

According to Loochtan, Debra had learned that Werner intended to cut her out of his existing insurance policies and replace her with his daughters. He had also ordered a new $250,000 double-indemnity policy and was planning to name Eva and Stephanie as beneficiaries on that policy as well.

Not long after Debra learned about the policy changes, she showed up at Loochtan's office with $3,000 in cash and a determination to enlist the insurance agent's help.

"She, with some money along with some sexual favors, convinced him to change the beneficiary of the policy to her," John Farrell said.

Then Debra and her boyfriend, John Korabik, hatched the plot to kill her husband. They brought Ken Kaenel, who was living with them at Korabik's father's house, into the plan because he was a career criminal. According to Kaenel, they offered him $50,000 to kill Werner. Kaenel later claimed he refused the contract because the gun Korabik gave him to do the job with malfunctioned when Kaenel test-fired it in the basement of their house.

"In Billy Wilder's film Double Indemnity, a plotting wife takes up with a handsome insurance agent," Dominick Dunne explains. "Together, they cook up a scheme to kill her husband for a big payout. It seemed like Debbie Hartmann had taken a page right out of Raymond Chandler's script."

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