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Doctor convicted in wife’s cyanide death

Associated Press / March 6, 2010

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CLEVELAND - An Ohio doctor accused of lacing his wife’s calcium supplement with cyanide so that he could be with his mistress was convicted yesterday of aggravated murder.

The jury heard weeks of testimony before returning the verdict against Dr. Yazeed Essa, 41. His wife, Rosemarie Essa, collapsed while driving Feb. 24, 2005, and crashed her car into another vehicle about 5 miles from the couple’s home.

Essa was an emergency room doctor in Akron but fled to Lebanon after his wife’s death. Last year, he gave up an extradition fight and was returned from Cyprus to Ohio. With yesterday’s verdict, he now faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 20 years.

As the verdict was announced, family members of Rosemarie Essa held hands. Some cried and one quietly said “Oh’’ when the verdict was read. After jurors left the courtroom, the victim’s family hugged police and prosecutors.

Her brother, Dominic DiPuccio, said the family was delighted with the jury’s decision.

Deputies stepped forward and handcuffed the doctor. He turned to his brother and other family members, and nodded. He flexed his fingers of his cuffed hands as Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Deena Calabrese set sentencing for Tuesday.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Essa was trying to escape a loveless marriage and wanted to live with his mistress. The defense portrayed the doctor as easily moving between mistresses and a storybook life with a wife, two children, and personal wealth.