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Monday, January 17, 2011

Claiming Gay Panic, ’Nude Housekeeper’ Acquitted of Murder

By Steve Weinstein -

Thomas Cordero
Thomas Cordero
A jury in the Bronx, N.Y., acquitted a man the New York tabloids have dubbed the "Nude Houskeeper" of murder, despite DNA evidence and a confession that he fatally stabbed the victim.

The sensational murder occurred back in 2001. Thomas Cordero advertised his services on, which implied that his work included more than dusting the mantlepiece and scouring the sink. Paralegal John Conley hired him on Oct. 6, 2001, to come to his apartment.

"The tidying up quickly turned into a steamy tryst," the N.Y. Daily News at the time. "He wanted to get down to business," Cordero told police in a taped confession. "He wanted to see my body."

Conley, age 50, "got too rough" in bed and grabbed a knife, according to Cordero. "I wanted to leave but he wouldn’t let me go," he told police. "I felt threatened, so I grabbed the knife from him and hit him in the back of the head."

As Conley lay dying in the bedroom, Cordero took $40 from his wallet, "per our agreement," he told police. The killing remained unsolved until April 2007, when Cordero was linked via a surveillance camera.

The Bronx assistant district attorney was skeptical about Cordero’s alibi.
"He gets paid $150. You think he’s getting that kind of rate for feather dusting?" Bronx Assistant District Attorney David Greenfield asked. "That must be some mighty fine housecleaning!"

"He stabbed him 14 times," Greenfield told jurors, according to the Bronx News. "It was an awfully violent, unsatisfactory consumer transaction."

Despite the evidence, jurors have now acquitted Cordero. The jury took only two hours to reach a verdict in the case, the N.Y. Daily News reported.

Jurors believed Cordero was forced into a confession. "I personally didn’t find what the detective said very believable," said one juror. "I’m not sure if he’s guilty or innocent," said another. "I just don’t think there was enough evidence."

Cordero tearfully thanked the jury -- and said he would no longer clean houses in the nude.
EDGE Editor-in-Chief Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early ’80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007). 


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