Jury selection is to begin in the trial of Yazeed Essa, an Akron doctor charged with poisoning his wife, Rosemarie, and then fleeing the country. Dr. Essa allegedly poisoned with wife with cyanide hidden in calcium supplement pills in 2005, leaving the country shortly thereafter. He was found in Cyprus in October 2008 and extradited back after a lengthy trial in January 2009. This past year was spent in preparation on both sides.
The prosecution's theory is that Essa killed his wife in order to get out of his marriage and continue an affair he was having with a nurse at Akron General Hospital. They claim to have proof of this affair along with Essa's statements of being free after Rosemarie's death. Also in the cards is a scheme by some of Essa's relatives to interfere with his extradition with trumped up murder charges in Lebanon. The plan was that the charges in Lebanon would distract authorities from his extradition back to the United States and he would spend a couple years in a Lebanese prison after a conviction there.
The defense is maintaining innocence and has been trying to block various pieces of evidence and testimony to preserve a fair trial. Among the evidence objected to is
- an email that questions Essa's innocence. The email itself is relevant and is admitted, but the portion questioning Essa's innocence is to be redacted.
- a threat Essa allegedly made to someone injured in his pool. This wasn't shown to be relevant.
- testimony that Essa forged his wife's signature and back-dated a loan application. This has been found relevant and going to Essa's motive
- testimony that a Russian organized crime syndicate tried to break Essa out of his Cypriot prison. A ruling is still pending.
- Essa's history of drug use, a DUI conviction and a polygraph exam of his alleged mistress. All decided to be irrelevant (the polygraph is also inadmissible on other grounds).
- Rosemarie's statement to a friend that her mouth burned after taking a drink of soda from a can in the car. Yazeed claimed he accidentally spilled antifreeze in the car. This has been deemed hearsay. An idle question arises: what was Yazeed pouring the antifreeze into inside the car?