Daniel Pelosi, an electrician from a blue-collar neighborhood, couldn't believe his luck when he met Generosa Ammon, a beautiful, elegant rich man's wife.
"I thought I hit the Lotto," Pelosi said.
But just as Generosa was about to get a divorce from her multimillionaire financier husband, he turned up dead and Pelosi has found himself a target of a criminal investigation.
"I am not responsible for what happened," said Pelosi, who married Generosa within months of the murder of her husband Ted Ammon. "I wish they would go and find the person who is."
In an exclusive interview with ABCNEWS Senior Legal Correspondent Cynthia McFadden, Pelosi, who is a target of a grand jury investigation into the Ammon murder, denies playing any part in the brutal crime.
Ammon was found bludgeoned to death in his East Hampton, Long Island, mansion two years ago.
"When I heard they were actually going to put a grand jury together and use me as the target of the investigation, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown," Pelosi said.
Pelosi is part of a bizarre murder mystery that shocked East Hampton, an idyllic ocean-front community famous for summer nightlife and a playground to the ultra-rich and super famous. Generosa and Ted Ammon seemed to have everything, including a multimillion-dollar Hamptons mansion, a grand house in England, and adopted twins.
Ammon's murder came just days before he and Generosa were set to sign their final divorce decree. Around the time she filed for divorce, Generosa became involved with Pelosi, who did electrical work at the Ammon mansion.
Convicted Felon Meets Woman of His Dreams
Pelosi was a convicted felon, arrested seven times and imprisoned twice on drunk driving charges. He was also married. Generosa was the woman of his dreams, he said, when they met in 2000.
"She was every guy's dream — I mean every guy from my neighborhood's dream," Pelosi said.
As for what Generosa saw in Pelosi, he says: "I was her man with a tool belt. I gave her what the rich man couldn't."
Generosa and Pelosi shacked up in a suite in the ritzy Stanhope hotel in Manhattan costing $1,500 a night, with the children in the next room. The costs racked up — room service, parking, tips for the doormen — and were charged to Ammon to the tune of a reported $70,000 a month.
The divorce turned bitter. The couple fought over custody of their children. Generosa wanted half of Ted's wealth, and he was reportedly worth anywhere from $50 million to a half-billion dollars.
The first offer from Ted came in at a reported $10 million. Pelosi thought Generosa should take it, he said. —
"Ten million dollars, a house, a building in New York City — not an apartment, a building. What more could you ask for?" he said. "I said [to Generosa] take the money and run. I said let's do this. Where I come from, $10 million, forget it. I'm good."
Brutal Murder, Act of Passion?
Generosa eventually got Ted to agree on a $25 million divorce settlement. But days before the couple was to sign the papers in October 2001, Ted was murdered.
"He was bludgeoned in the head," said Michael Shnayerson, a Vanity Fair magazine contributing editor who has closely followed the case. "I think there was some indication that maybe someone took a shower afterwards to wash off the blood. You really associate that kind of killing with passion, someone who knew the victim."
There was no forced entry and no sign of burglary, police said.
Within three months of the murder, Generosa and Pelosi were married. And Ammon's will showed that Generosa was still listed as heir.
Defense attorney Michael Dowd, hired to represent Pelosi and Generosa at the start of the criminal investigation, says the couple had no financial motive for murder because they both assumed Ammon had cut Generosa out of his will.
"You could have knocked anybody, including myself, over with a feather when the will was discovered," he said.
Pelosi concurs. "We were convinced he redid the will," he said.
Young Couple Seemed to Have It All
Generosa Rand met Ted Ammon in the mid-1980s when she was an aspiring artist supporting herself as a real estate agent. Ammon, in his early 30s, was worth an estimated $50 million. The couple met when Ammon did not appear for an appointment to look at an apartment one day, and he got an angry call from Generosa. They started dating and were married three years later.
Ammon was known by many for his philanthropy and became the chairman of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Generosa was charming, spunky and spirited. As a couple, they had social aspirations.
It appeared they had it all. Even their homes looked perfect: A 22-room country estate in England called Coverwood, an apartment on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue and the weekend house in East Hampton.
By any measure, though, the Ammons' marriage became quite troubled. Generosa reportedly pushed the couple's friends away, and exhibited bizarre behavior, such as planting 600 tulips in her East Hamptons garden only to rip them all out, saying they were the wrong shade, and threatened the gardener with a lawsuit unless he paid for them.
She eventually filed for divorce, reportedly convinced Ted was cheating.
Generosa also spied on her husband with surveillance cameras in the East Hampton home. She could see what happened in the East Hampton house on a laptop computer in the Stanhope hotel where she often stayed.
Prosecution documents say the surveillance cameras were not turned on on the day of the murder. A judge supervising the grand jury investigation ordered the laptop turned over, saying that "there's significant evidence that this laptop was an instrumentality of the crime."
Bizarre Twists in Strange Case
One person who could hold the key to the case, Generosa, will never testify. Not long after Ammon was murdered, she found out she had cancer. She died in August.
Adding another twist to this strange case, Pelosi is contesting her will. At one time, in June 2002, Pelosi stood to inherit everything from Generosa. But in July 2003, one month before her death, Generosa signed a second will giving custody of the children to a nanny and most of her fortune to her children.
Pelosi gets nothing but $2 million from a post-nuptial agreement. Pelosi refused to answer questions about the agreement, saying the answers would come out in civil court.
Dowd, now the executor of Generosa's estate, says Pelosi probably signed the agreement because no one knew how long Generosa would live, and he needed money for a lawyer in case he was indicted in the Ammon murder case.
"He wasn't going to wait. He wanted his money now, and that's what he got," Dowd said. But now Pelosi is challenging his deceased wife's will. "It's about pure unadulterated, unbridled greed," Dowd said.
But that doesn't mean Dowd thinks Pelosi is guilty of murder. "I found that after our investigation and still do find it hard to believe," he said.
Looking back now, Pelosi said there are times when he wishes he never met Generosa. "For the very idea that there's a grand jury sitting down today targeting me," he said.