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Affair was motive behind Radnor murder-suicide, say cops

"You had a man that was married that was having an affair with this other woman. The wife knew about it, and this was a calculated, planned attack."
Jennair Gerardot and Meredith Chapman
Jennair Gerardot, left, of Wilmington, Delaware shot and killed her husband's mistress, Meredith Sullivan, police said. Photo: Provided

A Radnor murder-suicide that claimed the lives of two women — Meredith Chapman and Jennair Gerardot— was motivated by an alleged marital affair, police said Wednesday. 

Chapman, 33, had an affair with Gerardot's husband, according to investigators. After Gerardot, 47, found out about the alleged affair, she traveled from her Wilmington home and broke into Chapman's Lowrys Lane home. When Chapman walked through the door, she shot her to death before turning the gun on herself, ABC 6 reported.

"You had a man that was married that was having an affair with this other woman. The wife knew about it, and this was a calculated, planned attack," said Police Superintendent William Colarulo. "There were emails and text messages indicating what she planned to do, and the detectives are still sorting that out."

Detectives believe Gerardot donned a disguise during her journey by train from Delaware to Radnor.

Gerardot's husband, Mark Gerardot, reportedly discovered Chapman was missing when she didn't show up for a date that night. He went to Chapman's home only to discover both her body and that of his wife. When police arrived, Mark Gerardot was outside the home, WaPo reported. "My wife might be inside," he told police.

Chapman was also married; since 2009, Chapman was the wife of Newark City Councilman Luke Chapman. Chapman worked with Mark Gerardot, a marketing professional, when she was employed at the University of Delaware.

“Meredith was a beacon of light to anyone who was fortunate enough to meet her,” a spokesperson for the Chapman family said in a statement to the News Journal. “She loved her family fiercely, was a compassionate friend and among the most talented and innovative professionals in her field. Her death was sudden and tragic, but will not define who she was to the thousands of people who loved her. Her family is devastated, heartbroken and requests privacy and respect as they grieve.”

Neighbors on the first blocks of Lowrys Lane, near Villanova University, called police at 7:05 p.m. Monday after hearing shots fired. The News Journal reported that Chapman had just moved into the house in the last week. She had recently started a new job as assistant vice president at Villanova University.  In 2016, Chapman ran against state Sen. Dave Sokola, D-Newark, but lost by just five percentage points.