The ex-girlfriend of the New York City surgeon convicted in the 1985 killing of his wife has completely revealed that ‘she feared for her life’ whereas on a ship journey with the physician, prompting her to go to therapist who instructed her that her life was in danger so long as she stayed with the person.
In a brand new interview with ABC’s 20/20, chiropractor Dr. Stephanie Youngblood detailed the chilling encounter she had with her then-boyfriend, plastic surgeon Robert Bierenbaum, who admitted final 12 months that he strangled his then-wife, Gail Katz, to dying and threw her physique out of a transferring airplane.
While investigators initially suspected Bierenbaum in Katz’s dying, he was not charged as a consequence of inadequate proof.
Las Vegas chiropractor Dr. Stephanie Youngblood revealed to ABC’s 20/20 ‘she feared for her life’ whereas on a ship journey with then-boyfriend Robert Bierenbaum
Former New York City plastic surgeon Bierenbaum (left) admitted final 12 months that he strangled his then-wife, Gail Katz (proper), to dying and threw her physique out of an airplane again in 1985
The affluential physician, whom prosecutors deemed a de facto ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ throughout courtroom proceedings and was recognized to fly into sudden matches of rage by folks near the couple, walked off scot-free after his wife’s disappearance – till his eventual arrest greater than a decade later and subsequent conviction in October 2000.
During that span, although, the profitable surgeon began courting once more and even remarried at one level, discovering a string of unsuspecting suitors unaware of the his darkish previous.
One of these lady was Youngblood, who stated that her relationship with the two-faced physician began off swimmingly, with the couple attending black tie occasions and taking heaps of ski journeys.
However, the pink cloud quickly dissipated to disclose Bierenbaum’s harmful mood and alarming tendencies.
Youngblood recounted one explosive incident with the physician to twenty/20, throughout a meal on what was speculated to be a romantic cruise.
At the beginning of the intimate meal, Youngblood, seated throughout from Bierenbaum, requested a bunch for a bottle of purple wine for the desk.
But when the restaurant employee returned with the bottle and proceeded to open it, it sprayed out of the bottle, enraging Bierenbaum, Youngblood revealed.
‘Bob went ballistic,’ she recalled to ABC’s 20/20 in an unique interview airing Friday at 9 p.m. ET.
Youngblood (left) dated Bierenbaum (proper) almost a decade after Katz disappeared, and stated their romance shortly went downhill after she was uncovered to the two-faced physician’s matches of rage
‘That’s once I noticed his laser eyes,’ she stated, earlier than including, ‘they only pierced my soul.’
Youngblood went on to explain the physician’s match of rage after the host’s gaffe, which she stated fell solely on her.
‘He simply raged on me prefer it was my fault,’ she stated of Bierenbaum’s alleged verbal abuse, which was so intense that she ‘feared for her life.’
‘My life was flashing earlier than my eyes,’ she added.
‘That was a tipping level in our relationship.’
Alarmed by the incident, Youngblood then demanded the pair see a therapist in an try and salvage their relationship – one thing Katz had completed a decade earlier than, previous to her dying.
The couple solely had one session, Youngblood revealed.
After the pair’s appointment, the therapist spoke to Youngblood alone, telling her that the couple had clear ‘points’ – and warned her that her ‘life could possibly be in danger with him [Bierenbaum].’
At that time, Youngblood says she began to construct a method to depart the poisonous relationship – which she ultimately did.
Youngblood detailed a daunting encounter on a ship journey with Bierenbaum that spurred her to hunt skilled assist and ultimately go away the plastic surgeon – earlier than he was revealed to be a assassin
Youngblood added that Bierenbaum instructed her he had been beforehand married, his wife had disappeared and he did not like to speak in regards to the state of affairs.
‘The manner he instructed the story, it was plausible,’ Youngblood stated.
‘He goes, ”Listen, this is not for public information. I’d actually recognize it if you happen to stored this underneath wraps.”’
Bierenbaum – who was an skilled pilot – admitted throughout his December 2020 parole listening to that he strangled his wife on the time, Katz, to dying and threw her physique out of his non-public airplane as a result of he was ‘immature’ and ‘did not perceive how you can take care of his anger.’
‘I needed her to cease yelling at me and I attacked her,’ he stated.
‘I went flying. I opened the door after which took her physique out of the airplane over the ocean.’
Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder, who presided the case, stated that ‘one of essentially the most essential moments’ was the prosecution’s video recreation of a small plane pilot pushing a physique bag out of the plane whereas nonetheless flying the plane
The confession got here after the physician vehemently maintained his innocence for greater than 30 years.
Now, lower than a 12 months he took accountability for the crime, these who knew the couple share completely on 20/20 how the outwardly charming physician with a profitable profession and plenty of hobbies was, in actuality, violent and controlling.
‘The Bierenbaum story whenever you get proper right down to it’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,’ Dan Bibb, a former Manhattan assistant district legal professional who prosecuted the Bierenbaum case, stated.
‘Disbeliefs switched to ”Good God, this man was a psychopath.”’
‘Never in 1,000,000 years you thought you would be utilizing chilly calculated assassin in the identical description as Dr. Bierenbaum,’ a person who knew the couple stated.
‘This excellent renaissance man, spoke a number of languages, a Jewish physician,’ echoed Gail’s sister, Alayne Katz.
‘He was tall, darkish and good-looking – pilot, surgeon, an enormous catch proper, for any younger woman,’ stated Denise Kastenbaum, a childhood pal of Gail.
Bibb stated that Bierenbaum’s confession prompted a wave of shock amongst prosecutors, particularly because it mirrored what investigators had hypothesized all alongside.
‘I was like, ‘Holy s—, are you kidding me?’ he stated.
‘I was shocked as a result of I at all times thought that that day would by no means come, that he would personal up, take accountability for having killed his wife.’
However, Alayne claimed her ex-brother-in-law’s admission of guilt meant nothing: ‘This is strictly the identical man that I knew 35 years in the past. He hasn’t modified … he’s incapable of a shred of regret.’
She claims she suspected that Bierenbaum had killed Katz the second she discovered her sister was lacking.
‘She’s not with me, and she or he’s not with my mother and father, and at that second I do know that my sister’s useless,’ Alayne stated.
‘And if she’s not alive there’s just one particular person who is a possible suspect to homicide her, and it is Bob. There’s no different suspect.’
Bierenbaum (pictured along with his second wife, Janet Chloett) stated he killed Gail as a result of he was ‘immature’ and ‘did not perceive how you can take care of his anger’
Gail’s sister, Alayne Katz (pictured), stated her ex-brother-in-law’s confession means nothing: ‘This is strictly the identical man that I knew 35 years in the past. He hasn’t modified … he’s incapable of a shred of regret’
Bierenbaum and Gail met in the early Eighties and had what their associates referred to as a ‘magical romance’.
‘One of the primary dates he took Gail on was a flight round Manhattan. She was so enamored,’ Denise stated.
However, the couple’s relationship shortly turned poisonous.
According to Gail’s sister, Bierenbaum started exhibiting his violent tendencies earlier than the 2 had been ever wed, citing an instance the place he tried to drown Gail’s cat in the bathroom at their Upper East aspect condo.
‘[She said], ‘No, no, no, Alayne… we’re gonna get rid of the cat after which every little thing’s gonna be advantageous as a result of he is gonna imagine that I really like him,’ Alayne recalled. ‘And I’m like, ‘No. Not actually. You actually must get rid of Bob.’
Alayne stated, regardless of a number of purple flags, Gail went by means of with the marriage: ‘My sister instructed me, ‘I’m sensible. I’m loving. My love will treatment. This goes to work out.”
During the course of their marriage, Gail grew fearful of her reportedly controlling and violent husband, telling neighbors she ‘did not really feel snug at dwelling’.
In 1983 Gail reported to police that Bierenbaum had choked her into unconsciousness after he caught her smoking on their balcony. However, nothing got here of the criticism.
One of the prosecutors on Bierenbaum’s case described it for example of ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ (Pictured: Bierenbaum and Katz)
The couple’s romance began off magical however shortly turned poisonous. Alayne stated she was fearful for her sister Gail (pictured) from the very begin
‘If this had occurred in 2021 … Robert Bierenbaum would have been in handcuffs instantly,’ Bibb instructed ABC. ‘The incontrovertible fact that this was  … nothing was completed about it.’
She disappeared on July 7, 1985. Bierenbaum instructed police the couple had an argument and Gail stormed out.
Months after Gail’s disappearance, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office took over the case and referred to as on Detective Andy Rosenzweig to analyze.
Rosenweig’s probe revealed that Bierenbaum had rented a plane from a New Jersey airport on July 7, 1985 however altered his flight logs to point he went flying on July 8.
The detective theorized that Bierenbaum had thrown Gail’s physique into the Atlantic Ocean. However, there was not sufficient proof to press prices.
Meanwhile, Bierenbaum returned to the courting scene and attended events in the Hamptons.
In 1989, a torso believed to belong to Gail surfaced on a Staten Island shore. Because DNA forensics had not been invented but, officers used a chest x-ray to establish the physique.
‘An X-ray technician in contrast this X-ray with the torso and stated, ‘This is Gail,’ Alayne defined. ‘Now … we now have a physique to bury. We have some closure.’
In 1983, Gail (left) reported to police that Bierenbaum (proper) had choked her into unconsciousness after he caught her smoking on their balcony. Nothing got here of the criticism
Gail (pictured) disappeared on July 7, 1985. Her physique has by no means been discovered
However, in 1998, as Rosenweig, nearing retirement, remained haunted by Gail’s chilly case. He outreached to the Katz household and satisfied them to exhume the torso and have it examined with now-invented DNA expertise.
The exams decided the torso didn’t belong to Gail.
‘That little, little shred of closure that I had has now been ripped away,’ Alayne said. ‘I appeared up at Dan [Bibb] and at Steve [Saracco], and I stated, ‘Now, you higher get a conviction.’
Investigators reopened the case and determined to interview Bierenbaum, who had since remarried and was residing in North Dakota along with his wife – a Las Vegas gynecologist named Janet Challot – and daughter.
They additionally spoke with a number of of his former girlfriends.
One of his exes instructed police she was with Bierenbaum in New York City when he obtained a cellphone name from Port Authority police, saying they thought they discovered his wife.
He reportedly instructed police he would name them again and stated to his lover: ‘I doubt it is Gail.’
Bierenbaum was convicted of second-degree homicide in Gail’s dying in October 2000 – 15 years after she disappeared – after the jury deliberated for 5 and half hours
‘I believed the demonstration with the airplane was extraordinarily efficient,’ Crocker stated
With testimony from his former girlfriends and the document that Bierenbaum took a flight on the day Katz disappeared, investigators moved ahead with their case.
‘We knew it was going to be the hardest trial that we would ever had. No forensics, no eye witnesses, solely circumstantial,’ Bibb stated. ‘There was no foregone conclusion to this case, by any stretch of the creativeness.’
Bierenbaum was convicted of second-degree homicide in Gail’s dying in October 2000 – fifteen years after she disappeared – after the jury deliberated for five-and-half-hours.
Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder, who presided the case, stated that ‘one of essentially the most essential moments of the case’ was the prosecution’s video recreation of a small plane pilot pushing a physique bag out of the plane whereas nonetheless flying the plane.
‘I believed the demonstration with the airplane was extraordinarily efficient,’ Crocker stated.
Bierenbaum was sentenced to twenty years-to-life in jail.
The former surgeon, nonetheless, maintained his innoncene and tried to get his conviction overturned on a number of events however was unsuccessful.
After serving 20 years of his sentence, he confessed to murdering Gail. Her physique has by no means been discovered.
Bierenbaum stays in jail and is anticipated in courtroom subsequent month for a parole listening to.