Facebook Twitter

Ex-husband of slain Springer guest in custody

SHARE Ex-husband of slain Springer guest in custody

SARASOTA, Fla. — The ex-husband of a woman found dead after their twisted love story aired on "The Jerry Springer Show" this week was in custody Friday, officials said.

Ralf Panitz, who had disappeared after Nancy Campbell-Panitz was beaten to death Monday, made a brief court appearance and was ordered held without bail on a murder charge. Panitz's wife, Eleanor Panitz, was being held as a material witness.

Defense attorney Jane Weintraub said Friday that the couple decided to surrender after realizing they were suspects.

The couple and their lawyers brokered a deal with Sarasota authorities while in Boston on Thursday. They flew to Tampa, about 60 miles north of Sarasota, on Friday and surrendered.

Authorities had said they believed the couple would try to reach the Canadian border. Weintraub insisted those reports were inaccurate.

In a show that was taped in May and broadcast Monday, Nancy Campbell-Panitz, 52; Ralf Panitz, 40, and Eleanor Panitz, 35, traded barbs for five minutes. Panitz and his wife claimed Campbell-Panitz had been stalking him. Campbell-Panitz eventually walked off the stage to applause shortly after her ex-husband's new wife called her "old" and "fat."

A few hours after the show aired — and not long after Campbell-Panitz told a judge she feared for her life — she was found dead in her Sarasota home.