Copycat? Doctor accused of poisoning wife with cyanide

An Associated Press story out of nearby Pittsburgh has an eerily familiar ring to it.

In part, the AP story reads that a western Pennsylvania judge says he'll rule in about a week whether to unfreeze the financial assets of University of Pittsburgh medical researcher Dr. Robert Ferrante, 65. Ferrante was jailed on charges he fatally poisoned his neurologist wife Dr. Autumn Klein, 41, with cyanide in April .

The attorney for 65-year-old Dr. Robert Ferrante wants about $2.2 million in several bank accounts made available to pay for Ferrante's defense.

Ferrante is charged with spiking his wife's energy drink with the fast-acting poison, a charge Ferrante has denied.

When I first read this, I immediately thought of former Gates Mills Dr. Yazeed Essa, then-41, sentenced in March 2010 to life in prison for poisoning his wife Rosemarie, then-38, with cyanide five years ago.

Essa was convicted of poisoning her with a cyanide-laced calcium pill.

This was not a trial that I covered but happen to know many of the local law enforcement officials that were involved in the case. Also, the wife's parents are members of my childhood parish St. Francis of Assisi.

The case grabbed national attention.

The six-week Essa trial included testimony from more than 60 witnesses, many of whom told the story of a philandering doctor, his many mistresses and an international manhunt that crossed three continents and ended with his arrest in Cyprus in October 2006, 18 months after his wife's death.

Essa fled from his Gates Mills home in March 2005 after police questioned him about his wife's death. He was arrested in Cyprus on Oct. 7, 2006, for using fake travel documents. In January 2009, Essa was extradited to Cuyahoga County, according to then-Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason's office.

Rosemarie Essa was a mother of two and was driving to the movies in the family SUV on Feb. 24, 2005, when she felt ill, passed out and hit another vehicle before stopping against a curb on Wilson Mills Road in Highland Heights. She was taken to Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights where she was pronounced dead within the hour.

Rosemarie's parents have custody of the two children.

Before she crashed, she called a friend from her car and told her that she was beginning to feel sick to her stomach and wondered whether a supplement her husband had given her was making her ill.

Kind of makes you wonder if Ferrante allegedly copied Essa's method? But why would you "copy" with a "failed" method?

Follow me on Twitter @KimWendel


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