15 Years Later, Shocking Markle Murder-Suicide Case Fades From View

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 12:00 am  

But days before that last discussion, Markle had contacted his life insurance company and confirmed that his $500,000 policy would be paid in case of suicide. His diary suggested that while he was making preparations for what he called “option a,” he hadn’t firmly decided to kill his family and himself until he heard Stephens’ final offer.

The Litigation

On Nov. 9, Markle voided the will he had executed in 1985, and he, two witnesses and a notary signed the handwritten will that was found in his briefcase. The new will made no provision for Chris and named no guardians for their girls.

In the new will, he estimated the net value of his estate at $890,000. He left $500,000 to his mother, which would bring her cash assets to approximately $1.7 million. His letters to her and to his attorney, Richard Lawrence, encouraged McCambridge to immediately pay Stephens Inc. $700,000, leaving her with $1 million to invest for income.

But Markle didn’t foresee all the legal questions that his actions would cause. Eight lawsuits would be filed by his estate, Christina’s estate, life insurance companies and McCambridge. Christina’s estate even suggested that she may have outlived John, which would have completely changed the chain of inheritance and settled a third of John’s estate — as well as Chris’ $250,000 life insurance policy — on his wife’s surviving sisters.

Eventually all eight lawsuits were settled out of court. This much is known: Three insurance policies on John Markle’s life totaling just over $653,000 were distributed in December 1988; $549,000 went to Markle’s estate, and McCambridge and her former husband, Fletcher Markle, each received $52,000.

Markle’s estate also sold the house and auctioned off personal effects.

Meanwhile, Stephens Inc. was pursuing numerous legal complaints against Markle’s estate, McCambridge and Geldermann’s. In out-of-court settlements, Stephens received $600,000 from McCambridge and $340,000 from Markle’s estate.

Stephens Inc. and McCambridge jointly sued Geldermann’s, arguing that Markle never could have managed the embezzlement scam without the Chicago company’s cooperation.

McCambridge sought $500,000 in actual damages — the difference between the $1.1 million she had given Markle to invest and the $600,000 she wound up with after settling with Stephens — plus $1 million in punitive damages for allowing Markle to set up an unauthorized account in her name. Her claim eventually was dismissed.

Stephens Inc. sought $6.2 million in compensatory damages — $5.2 million for losses in Stephens’ house account, plus almost $1 million for commissions paid to Geldermann’s — and an equal amount in punitive damages.

Geldermann’s admitted that some employees had facilitated Markle’s scheme but argued during a three-week trial in December 1990 that only $854,000 in profits was skimmed from the Stephens account — and that even that could have been prevented if Stephens had supervised Markle adequately.



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