They say that sometimes life imitates art, and for one Bryan crime novelist, that philosophy holds true. Sort of. Nancy Mancuso Gelber, who self-published a book about bank-robbing prostitutes, was arrested earlier this month after she allegedly took out a hit on her estranged, cheating husband.
The 53-year-old allegedly tried to hire a sheriff’s investigator posing as a hit man to kill her husband, Joseph Richard Gelber, Jr. Gelber met the investigator at the La Salle Hotel in downtown Bryan, where she offered to pay the investigator $60,000 after she cashed in her husband’s life insurance policy, Michelle Casady reported for the Bryan-College Station Eagle . As a down payment she offered her wedding ring.
“She told the undercover officer the less she knew about how the murder was carried out the better, but said she didn’t want her husband to suffer and wanted his death to look accidental,” Casady wrote.
Brazos County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Gelber at a friend’s apartment on December 9 on a count of solicitation to commit capital murder, a first-degree felony that carries a 99-year sentence.
In April, Gelber wrote the following message on her Facebook wall: “Thank you all for ur support during my horrible surprise of coming home from Houston to find to my husband cheating, then watching him getting his butt kicked.”
Joseph Gelber filed for divorce on October 17, citing “discord or conflict of personalities” as the reason for dissolving the union, Maggie Kelly wrote in the Eagle. Five days after Gelber’s arrest, her husband filed for a temporary restraining order against her, lest she should be released on bond.
On December 6, the day before her meeting with the hitman, Gelber filed a counterpetition for divorce, asking the judge if she could remain in the house the couple shared until the divorce was finalized, Kelly reported. She also asked the judge for a temporary restraining order against her husband. In an affidavit, Gelber claimed she had been scheduled to have brain surgery but was not able to after her husband removed her from his health insurance policy.
Brandi Pointer-Castillo, a friend of Gelber’s, spoke to the Huffington Post about the case. “She told me he cheated [on her] with a friend,” Pointer-Castillo said. “Nancy was not the same person after that. She was totally different and was not the same Nancy at all. She was someone I did not even recognize or know. It was a total transformation, and she just carried on about him. It was all about him.”
Gelber is the author Temporary Amnesia (2010), a book about a prison escapee who wants to drug fifty prostitutes into a state of temporary amnesia and force them to rob banks. According to the novel’s description, “Along with suspense and terror, this crime-thriller has a touch of levity and romance. Temporary Amnesia will blow your mind! At times you may even find yourself siding with the bad guys!”