NBC's Dateline featured Yazeed Essa cyanide murder case Friday night

7:02 PM, Apr 23, 2010   |    comments
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On Friday night, Dateline NBC aired "Death By Poison," the story of how the death of Rosemarie Essa "would shatter what everyone thought was a perfect family life, especially after her husband mysteriously disappears and his secret "double life" is exposed."

After nearly four years on the run, Dr. Yazeed Essa was caught in Cyprus with a fake passport and eventually brought back to Cuyahoga County in January, 2009. He stood trial, accused of poisoning his wife with cyanide-laced capsules so he could be with one of his many mistresses.

On March 5, 2010, he was convicted of Rosemarie's murder and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Deena R. Calabrese sentenced him to life in prison without parole until after 20 years.

But while the story has its compelling twists and turns, it doesn't stop there. And neither does the money involved.

Trustees for Rosemarie Essa's estate sold the Gates Mills home the couple lived in on Nov. 6, 2006, while Yazeed was on the run. Any profit from that sale went to their children.

Yazeed, now 41, hired prominent Cleveland defense attorneys Mark Marein and Steve Bradley. There is no public record to show how Yazeed paid for his legal defense but his brother, Firas, has admitted helping him financially while he was on the run.

But when Yazeed's bond was set at $75 million in January, 2009, no bond was posted, so he remained in jail until the end of his trial.

That's 424 days in jail that is being credited to his prison sentence at the Lorain Correctional Institution where he is serving time now, officials there said.

Yazeed arrived at LCI on March 11 and officials there say that Yazeed will have his first parole hearing in November, 2028.

Near the end of the trial, Marein and Bradley informed the court that they would not be continuing as Yazeed's attorneys after the trial ended.

Then Yazeed filed an affidavit of indigency with the court, basically saying that he had no money. His new court-appointed, taxpayer-financed attorney is Stephen Miles.

Less than two weeks after the conviction, Miles filed an appeal, saying that Yazeed did not get a fair trial. The state will pay for the copy of the trial transcript being sent to the appeals court for the appeal.

No matter what happens, the family of Rosemarie DiPuccio Essa will never get Rosemarie back and her two children, who are being raised by family members, will never have their mother back.

The human cost of what Yazeed Essa did is heartbreaking. And now the other costs of bringing him to justice, as well as keeping him in prison, are mounting and taxpayers will bear that burden.

Records show that the court granted the state of Ohio extradition fees for the case, totalling $41,299.49.

The court itself determined that Yazeed owes $54,956.11 in court costs for his trial. Records show that no court costs have been paid to date. Most court costs for motions, filings and responses are expected and reasonable.

The court sent a collection letter for the $54, 956.11 to Yazeed at LCI the day he arrived there.

Now that Yazeed is at LCI, he is known as inmate #A582383 and his prison photo (at right) shows that he has shaved his head.

According to LCI officials, Yazeed will share space in LCI, the state prison in Grafton, with 1,959 other inmates. Taxpayers will pay the $50.86 a day that it costs to keep him there.

There are also years worth of fees, mostly in the $5 and $6 range, for sheriffs serving subpoenas from several counties, including Lake, Summit, Hamilton, Geauga and Portage.

There are court recorder's fees as well.

Here is the background on the Essa case.

On Feb. 24, 2005, Rosemarie, 38, was driving her SUV in Highland Heights, an eastside Cleveland suburb about five miles from her home, after taking what her husband told her were calcium supplement capsules.

She soon became ill and lost control of her then-slow-moving vehicle. She died, but not from her injuries.

The couple lived in Gates Mills, an upscale Eastside Cleveland suburb. Yazeed, a Detroit native whose family is from a Palestinian territory, was an emergency room doctor at Akron General Medical Center.

A few weeks after her death, Yazeed went to Detroit with friends and from there fled the country to Lebanon after police seized drug bottles at his home.

Prosecutors indicted Yazeed on Feb. 7, 2006, and issued an arrest warrant. He was found and extradited back to the United States and into the Cuyahoga County Jail on Jan. 1, 2009.


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