2006_11_adrienneshelly.jpgYesterday, the police announced that the death of actress-director Adrienne Shelly was murder, not suicide. Shelly's husband had found her body hanging from a shower rod in the Greenwich Village apartment she used as an office last week, leading the police to initially suspect she committed suicide. But they did find an unknown shoeprint in the bathroom, and the shoeprint turned out to belong to a construction worker doing renovations on a downstairs apartment

Diego Pillco, an Ecuadorean immigrant, was confronted by Shelly about the noise he was making. They apparently got into a physical fight where Shelly slapped him and Pillco punched her unconscious. Worried that he would be deported, he dragged her body back to her apartment and staged the hanging. From the NY Times:

Detectives from the Sixth Precinct in Greenwich Village were particularly troubled by an unexplained footprint found in the bathroom. They examined the shoes of everyone who had entered the apartment, including police officers and emergency workers, but found no match for the print.

They canvassed the building, and found that renovation work was under way in some apartments. The detectives matched the footprint from Ms. Shelly’s bathroom to one they found at one of the work sites, and then used the match to track down Mr. Pillco, the authorities said.

Newsday reports that Pillco was 5 feet, to Shelly's 5 feet 2, and "had trouble trying to situate her body to fit a suicide scenario, so he had to step on the toilet, leaving behind the sneaker print."

Pillco, not seen at the 15 Abingdon Square building since the killing, was arrested at his Brooklyn apartment and charged with second degree murder. He confessed to the police, "I was having a bad day. I didn't mean to kill her. But I did kill her." The ME's office is still looking into the cause of death (from the punch or the hanging).

Shelly's family was doubtful she would kill herself, and husband Andrew Ostroy said, "We are incredibly grateful to the New York City Police Department for their dedication, professionalism and tenacity in following up on every lead in this case. We hope everyone will respect that this is a difficult and private time for our families."