Two and a half months ago, Robert "Joe" Halderman asked his next door neighbor, Kevin Lane, to join him and girlfriend Stephanie Birkitt for a steak barbeque.
While the pair seemed like a nice couple, "they weren't all lovey-dovey, they kind of were more private that way," says Lane, 48, who noted Birkitt moved into Halderman's modest blue two-story home in Norwalk, Connecticut four years ago.
The 48 Hours
producer plead not guilty
on Friday to charges he tried to extort $2 million from Late Night
host David Letterman for an alleged relationship
with his former assistant – Birkitt.
"Joe was a nice guy," says Lane, who last saw Halderman cutting his grass about a week ago. "All this is a surprise to me. It would never cross my mind all this going on."
On Sunday, Lane saw a moving truck back into Halderman's home and movers were taking furniture out of the home. But, Lane noted, that he doesn't know if Birkitt has moved out. He hasn't seen her for a while, he said.
Lane says that the night of the cookout, Halderman made the steaks and Birkitt talked about her work with Letterman. "I asked her what he [Letterman] was like and she said, 'Nice,'" he recalls. "She said she checked out movies and told [Letterman] about them."
Halderman drank a few glasses of wine, but not to excess, says Lane. The TV producer moved into his house about five years ago with his son. (His son, now 11, and 18-year-old daughter currently live with their mother.)
"[Halderman and his son] were really close, they did a lot of stuff together, throwing the football," Lane remembers.
Lane says his neighbor didn't live an extravagant lifestyle and rarely spoke of his job with 48 Hours
"All of this is very puzzling," the neighbor says.