Doctor Convicted of Poisoning Wife Gets Life Sentence

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A former doctor who sought to escape his marriage by poisoning his wife with a cyanide-laced calcium pill was sentenced recently to life in prison.

After a lurid six-weel trial, in which over 60 witnesses testified to Yazeed Essa’s habitual philandering, a jury found the 41-year-old Ohio man guilty of aggravated murder for giving Rosemarie Essa a supplement which killed her.

Rosemarie Essa died in February 2005, while driving to the movies. She telephoned a friend from her car, saying that she felt nauseated, and that her husband had given her a pill which she suspected might have been laced with poison. Shortly thereafter, she passed out, impacted another vehicle and then hit the curb.

The friend, Eva Gardner, testified during Essa’s trial. Also testifying were two of Essa’s mistresses and his own brother, who told jurors that Essa had admitted that he killed his wife. Others took the stand to talk about Essa’s many mistresses and playboy lifestyle, which prosecutors used to demonstrate that Essa wished to rid himself of his wife.

After being brought in for questioning by police, in March 2005, Essa fled the country and managed to evade capture until October 2006, when he was arrested in Cyprus for using fake travel documents. He was extradited to Cuyahoga County, Ohio in January 2009 for the murder trial.

Attorneys for the defense cited the lack of any physical evidence tying Essa to the poisoned calcium supplements, and attempted to point fingers at some of the mistresses, one of whom said that Essa had promised to be her soul mate.

The former doctor will be eligible for parole in 20 years. Had his crime occurred earlier, before Ohio sentencing laws were changed, Judge Deena Calabrese would have had more discretion in setting his parole eligibility.

“I regret that you have the benefit of committing this crime under the old law,” said Calabrese. “You took an oath to preserve life and you destroyed your family. I cannot imagine the evil that you have done to these people, especially your children. It is my great hope and the only that I can think of at this moment that they forget you … and that whatever legacy you had is wiped away.”

 

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