Doctor on trial in wife’s cyanide death
CLEVELAND - A prosecutor yesterday portrayed a doctor charged in the cyanide-poisoning death of his wife as a womanizer trapped in a loveless marriage who fled the country when investigators closed in, while his defense attorney called him a loving family man incapable of murder.
“This is evil at work,’’ Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Steve Dever told jurors during opening statements in the aggravated murder trial of Yazeed Essa.
Defense attorney Steven Bradley displayed photos of a smiling Essa family. “There was no reason for him to have committed this crime,’’ Bradley said.
Authorities say Rosemarie Essa, 38, crashed her vehicle into oncoming traffic after taking a cyanide-laced calcium capsule provided by her husband on Feb. 24, 2005. She called a friend and, gasping for air, said that her husband made her take the pills and that she didn’t feel well.
Essa, 41, a Detroit native, was an emergency room doctor at Akron General Medical Center. He fled to Lebanon shortly after police seized drug bottles at his home. He gave up a long extradition fight and was returned from Cyprus to Ohio last year.
Essa has pleaded not guilty.