Monday, September 05, 2016

Framed: A True Story - Chapter 5

Kent Easter, at a hearing in Orange County Superior
Court, faced professional ruin after he was charged
with planting drugs in a school volunteer’s car.
Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

She was the PTA mom everyone knew. Who would want to harm her?

Framed: Chapter 5

It was my wife, Kent Easter told jurors.

She had become obsessed with destroying the PTA mom, he said. She had planted the pot and painkillers in Kelli Peters’ car. She had lured him into her criminal scheme. She was the reason he sat here today, his life a shambles, on trial for a felony.

Easter had taken the witness stand in his own defense, casting himself as a figure instantly familiar to aficionados of 1940s crime dramas: the hapless cuckold and sap, undone by a femme fatale and her noirish machinations.

It was a pitiable tale, but he was a hard man to warm up to. He had an air of bloodless detachment that came across as arrogance.

He had been a busy man, he explained, logging 200 billable hours a month for his big Newport Beach law firm, trying to appease a hectoring spouse who was never satisfied.

Jill Easter figured large in her
husband’s trial, even in her
absence. (Irvine Police Department)

He knew that his wife, Jill, had been unfaithful to him, off and on, for years. “I felt that my job was to be a husband, to stay married,” Easter testified. “Nobody in our family had ever gotten divorced.”
As a glimpse into the toxic power dynamic of the marriage — as a window into his wife’s obsessiveness — Easter’s team presented Defense Exhibit L. It was an email she sent him in March 2010, he said, interrupting his workday.

The subject line: “Need to get serious.” The theme: how to crush the lowly school volunteer who, she insisted, had deliberately locked their 6-year-old son out of his elementary school a month before.
The email was a litany of demands. She wanted Kelli Peters’ background checked. She wanted her arrested. She wanted her slapped with a restraining order. She wanted to sue Peters, the school, the school district, the school board, the public-schools foundation. She wanted action by tomorrow.

The email ended in bold capitals:

Read the rest at the Los Angeles Times.


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