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Resettled life brings shame, and suicide

After son is charged, immigrants give up

BENSALEM, Pa. -- Edward Goldman and Inessa Lemashova, Soviet Jews who came to America with the hope of a better life, devoted themselves to their only child, even helping him flee the country with a bag of cash after he allegedly killed his mistress. Then the two returned to their apartment and slit their wrists, Lemashova dying in the bathtub, her husband on the floor beside her.

In their suicide note, translated into English with help from their daughter-in-law before they took their lives, they said they could not live with the shame of their son's act.

The tale of murder, guilt, and suicide unfolded last month in suburban Philadelphia.

Cantor Elena Zarkh, who led a funeral for the couple on Jan. 16 as authorities chased leads in France and Germany for their son, said Lemashova, who was 63, "was a sick person, close to death, and she escaped that. She survived. But she couldn't survive emotionally what happened with their son."

A postcard found at the son's townhouse in Mount Laurel, N. J., ultimately led investigators to a house in Grenoble, France, where Paul Eduardovich Goldman, 39 years old, was captured on Jan. 20.

Goldman is expected to be extradited to the United States within 60 days to face charges in the slaying of Fania "Fay" Zonis, a 42-year-old mortgage broker found dead in her office Dec. 29.

Goldman's parents came to the United States from Uzbekistan, joining the exodus of Jews from the former Soviet Union who fled discrimination in the early 1990s. The elder Goldman, a vocational teacher in his homeland, found work as a machinist in Philadelphia, and cared for his wife, who suffered an undisclosed illness. A relative said father and son were like best friends.

The younger Goldman married an emigrant from the Ukraine, Irina Sapiro, now 42. He most recently worked as a handyman at a computer company.

Friends say he met Zonis, another married emigrant from the former Soviet Union, when she taught a computer class he took about 10 years ago. At some point they started an affair. They exchanged 15 cellphone calls in the hours before Zonis' slaying, authorities said.

While the motive is unclear, the killer clearly was angry with Zonis, stabbing her seven times and smashing her face, authorities said.

While Paul Goldman was on the lam, prosecutors arrested his wife for allegedly covering for him by telling police he was shopping with her on the night of the crime and away on business when he had fled the country. Sapiro was charged with hindering prosecution and jailed on $1 million bail.

Goldman's parents also helped him, accompanying him to New York, where Goldman and his father boarded a plane to Germany on Jan. 7, authorities said. The elder Goldman gave his son a bag with cash and a relative's address, then flew home, authorities said.

Three days after the younger Goldman fled, he was charged with murder.

The next day, Jan. 11, the elder Goldman, 66, and his wife visited their 22-month-old grandson, who has been hospitalized since his premature birth with severe breathing problems and other ills.

They then gave their daughter-in-law their wedding rings and $20,000 in cash, and asked her to translate their suicide note from Russian to English, authorities said. The note said they could not live with the disgrace of their son's conduct, authorities said.

Two days later, police found them dead in their Bensalem apartment.

Prosecutor Diane Gibbons said the daughter-in-law's silence about the planned suicides "shows just a complete disregard for life."

Sapiro's lawyer, Andrew Baratta, said the woman did not think her in-laws would go through with it.

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