Diego Pillco, a 19-year-old handyman who arrived in New York from Ecuador in July, was charged with second-degree murder for what the prosecutor an "exceptionally egregious" act, The New York Times reported.
Shelly, who was preparing for the release of "Waitress," a film she wrote and directed, had complained about noise being created by Pillco as he worked in an apartment, Assistant District Attorney Marit Delozier said.
The two argued and Pillco knocked the 40-year-old mother unconscious then, in an effort to make it look like suicide, "tied a sheet around her neck and dragged her to the bathroom," Delozier said. "This is an exceptionally egregious case."
Shelly's husband found her hanging from a shower rod in the bathroom. He insisted the successful actress and devoted mother of a 3-year-old daughter would not take her own life.
Although officials were initially fooled by the staged suicide, a shoe print led them to Pillco, who reportedly confessed to police Monday.
"The medical examiner has made it clear, crystal clear, that the victim died from compression to the neck," Delozier said.