ROSEMARIE ESSA - YAZEED ESSA - TRIAL - VERDICT & SENTENCING
Cleveland Ohio - Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Deena Calabrese is presiding over the trial of Yazeed Essa, a former Cleveland doctor.
2005 - February 24 - Rosemarie Essa (38) was pronounced deceased at the hopsital after a
vehicular crash. A friend of Rosemarie's iniformed police that she'd received
a phone call from Rosemarie just before the crash. Rosemarie stated she was
having "difficulty breathing" and that "her husband had made her take a
calcium pill" and she felt "ill."
Photo: Rosemaire Essa
Autopsy - Rosemarie Essa had been poisoned with potassium cyanide.
Dr. Yazeed Essa was indicted on a charge of Aggravated Murder.
Yazeed Essa didn't stick around to answer questions. With the help of his
brother and sister (who faced charges) fled using fake travel documents.
He fled to Beirut and then to Cyprus where he was arrested on charges
of using the fake travel documents.
2005 - 2009 - Yazeed Essa fought extradition until 2009 when a deal was struck that his siblings
would not face the more serious charges and he would agree to return.
2009 - Yazeed Essa was returned to the U.S. to face charges. He is held on a $75 Million dollar
Photo: Yazeed Essa
2010 - January 19 - Jury selection begins. It is estimated by Essa's attorney that it will take two
weeks to select a jury.
A GAG ORDER IS IN EFFECT
If Essa is convicted on the charges the maximum sentence he faces is Life in Prison with parole
after 20 years.
2004 - A year before her death, Rosemarie told her friends that Yazeed had insisted she begin taking "calcium pills."
Yazeed Essa renewed his passport and just days before Rosemarie's death, purchased a plane ticket from Toronto, Canada to Cyrpus.
2005 -February 25 - 11:30 A.M. - Rosemarie Essa drove to meet her sister at a
mall when she became ill.
Before her vehicle crashed, Rosemarie called a friend
and told her that she'd taken the calcium pill and that it
was making her ill. She telephoned her home, to speak
with her husband.
Assistant County Prosecutor Rick Bell "We think she died while leaving a message."
Rosemarie Essa's vehicle clipped a truck and then crashed.
A woman bypasser found Rosemarie unconscious and with
her cell phone open in her hand.
Rosemarie's friend told Yazeed Essa about Rosemarie's call to her about the pills making her ill. Rosemarie's siblings insisted Yazeed save the pills.
County Prosecutor Bill Mason "The friend recalled "His eyes went wide like,
"Oh my gosh!" "He had never planned on his wife
using her cell phone to call someone."
"I have evidence Essa methodically plotted
his 38-year-old wife's murder, orchestrated
his escape to the Middle East and brazenly
returned to the United States in November."
When confronted by LE, Yazeed Essa told them "someone else must have tampered with the pills." After LE left, Yazeed asked Rosemarie's sister to "watch his children" (ages 2 & 4) while he "tended to a friend with a broken leg in North Carolina."
Instead, Yazeed Essa joined two brothers, a cousin and a friend on a gambling spree at the MGM Casino in Detroit, Michigan.
Yazeed Essa left the group and disappeared.
The FBI searched various locations (one in Miami, Fla.) for Essa.
A warrant for his arrest was issued and Interpol was notified of his fugitive status.
The case was profiled on "America's Most Wanted."
Essa fled to Lebanon and then onto Cyrpus where he fought extradition
until a deal was made that his sister and brother would not face serious
charges and jail time for their part in his flight.
In evidence is the plastic bottle of calcium pills that were refilled with cyanide powder.
Prosecution - Assistant County Prosecutor Steven Dever
"Yazeed Essa was living two lives. He was living the life of a happily married in a nice suburban home in Cleveland with a devoted wife, two loving children and then this relationship that he had with Michelle Madeline and how that escalated and made him make decisions that he no longer wanted to be married."
Dr. Yazeed Essa, wanted his wife, Rosemarie, 38, dead, so he could move on with his lover."
"Rosie's death provided to Yazeed Essa the freedom from an unhappy marriage." "It eliminated the need for a messy divorce that could have ruined his bank account, trashed his reputation, and spoiled a dream life he had concocted for himself with his mistress."
"To friends and family, Essa and Rosemarie appeared to be living the American Dream -- a young couple with two children and a beautiful home in an affluent Northeast Ohio suburb. Essa furtively maintained a playboy lifestyle at Akron General Hospital, where he worked as an emergency room doctor."
We are going to present to you a picture of a narcissistic, self absorbed, sociopath who calculated and implemented an evil plan to kill his wife." "Who killed his wife to free himself of a marriage that stood in the way of his romantic relationship with nurse Michelle Madeline."
"Rosie's death provided Yazeed Essa the freedom from an unhappy marriage. It eliminated the need for a messy divorce that could have ruined his bank account."
" Essa harbors a darker secret -- a wicked plot to murder his wife in a manner so shrewd, he believed it would never be discovered."
"There is no innocence here. He administered a lethal dose of cyanide and took her life in a cruel and horrible fashion
"On Feb. 25, 2005, Rosemarie Essa crashed her car shortly after taking a calcium supplement at her husband's urging, Dever said. She suffered no injuries in the accident but was pronounced dead within the hour at Hillcrest Hospital."
"The day after his wife's burial, Essa told Madeline that he wanted her to move into his home -- at first, as a babysitter for his children. Later, she would become his girlfriend and then, the only mother his children would ever know."
"In the following weeks, the coroner's office ruled that Rosemarie Essa had been poisoned, among the rarest and most cunning methods of homicide, prosecutors said. Police had found nine capsules in the bottle of calcium supplements that had been emptied and refilled with cyanide. But it took only one pill to kill; each contained nine times the lethal dosage."
"By the time the plot was uncovered, Essa was long gone, having fled the country to Beirut, Lebanon, with the intention of establishing a new life under the alias Maurice Khalife."
Defense - Attorney Steven Bradley
"Dr. Yazeed Essa did not commit this crime." Dr. Yazeed did not commit this crime. He did not intentionally poison the mother of his two children." My client had no motive for killing his wife.
Essa had dozens of lovers over the years but was actually happy in his marriage to Rosemarie and they were even trying to have a third child. Yazeed Essa is a man who still wears his wedding ring. The woman with whom he was actively trying to conceive a third child, something they both wanted, he did not commit this crime because there was no reason."
Bradley described Yazeed Essa as a "Playboy" and stated that "prosecutors overstated Madeline's significance in Essa's life. The young nurse was just one of many women with whom Essa maintained discrete and casual sexual relationships. And Rosemarie Essa was unaware of all of them."
"The state's case is entirely circumstantial, and prosecutors have not a thread of DNA, forensic or scientific evidence to implicate Essa in the poisoning. Essa did not try to dispose of the calcium pill bottle in the three weeks after his wife's death. He willingly handed it over to police and even showed the bottle to family explaining that his wife took one of the pills before leaving the house that afternoon." Police found the cyanide pills in a calcium pill bottle three weeks after Rosemarie's death and that if Essa was guilty, he would have disposed of the pills.
"But one woman had a reason to want her dead and had the opportunity to fashion a plan."
"Yazeed Essa included Marguerita Montanez among his rotation of women for years before he got married. She had fallen in love with Essa and was so crushed when he announced his engagement to Rosemarie that she planned to marry another man on the same day. Even then, before making her vows, Montanez sent Essa a text message proclaiming her love. The two maintained their sexual relationship during the five years before Rosemarie Essa's death and on numerous occasions, Montanez was inside the Essa home." Montanez was in the house when Essa called to tell her that the Highland Heights police wanted the calcium pill bottle 3 weeks after the murder."
"Marguerita was alone in the house and had advance warning that the police were on their way."
"Margarita resented the fact that Rosemarie had everything she wanted, a doctor for a husband, house in Gates Mills, freedom to travel, didn't have to work."
"I think you'll hear much testimony that Rosemarie had everything she wanted."
"There's no scientific evidence that is going to connect him to this crime, no DNA evidence, no fingerprint evidence, nothing."
"My client fled the country under the alias "Maurice Khalife" and sought refuge in Lebanon, but "he was counseled to leave by his brother and sister-in-law."
2010 - January 26 - Witness testimony:
Dr. Elizabeth Balraj (Cuyahoga County Deputy Coroner) "Tests for some common poisons, heroin, cocaine, alcohol and prescription drug overdose are part of the coroner's routine toxicology screening. But cyanide poisoning is so rare that the possibility was not on the coroner's radar until police began to suspect it. Uncovering the poison on its own would have been like finding a needle in a haystack."
"The poison is a chemical asphyxiant. It bonds to the nucleus of tissue cells in the body, particularly those of the brain, and starves them of oxygen. As the poison takes hold, the victim vomits, has trouble breathing and becomes anxious. The skin tone appears pink, and the body often wreaks of the bitter odor of burnt almonds -- especially upon opening the body cavities during autopsy."
Defense Attorney Mark Marein - (cross examination) "Do you believe that a trained physician, who knows the distinctive and recognizable symptoms of cyanide poisoning, would be taking a huge risk in using the poison to murder?"
Dr. Elizabeth Balraj "Not everyone can smell the odor, and many of the other symptoms are characteristic of other disorders. My staff spent the first few weeks after Rosemarie Essa's death ruling out causes of death including diseases, alcohol or drug overdose."
2010 - January 26 - Trial Testimony
Faras Essa (Yazeed's brother) testified today for the prosecution as part of a plea deal. Farras Essa had been charged with obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence. and helping his brother Yazeed flee the U.S. Their sister was charged for her part in obstructing justice.
Photo: Yuna Ighneim & Firas Essa (sister & brother of Yazeed Essa)
While in the Middle/Near East, Yazeed used the name "George Kalifi."
Faras Essa - testified that "he advised his brother to flee the country days after LE questioned him about Rosemarie's death. "He told me he had no idea how the calcium pill he gave his wife could have been laced with cyanide."
Rosemarie Essa's death was not why Yazeed abandoned his two children and fled the country. "He was scared basically that people would find out about his affairs. My brother had a lot of girlfriends."
Faras testified that he "spoke to Yazeed using pre-paid cell phones about every 10 days and kept him up to date on the investigation."
"In late 2006, he, his sister, and Attorney Larry Zuckerman traveled to Cyprus and visited Yazeed in prison and (the attorney handled the money) gave Yazeed approximately $40,000 in cash."
Faras Essa - "As a young single doctor, Yazeed once challenged himself to sleep with as many women as he could in 24 hours without allowing them to find out about each other. The final tally was six."
"My brother maintained relationships with multiple women simultaneously and treated many as if they were the only one in his life. There was Tammy, Melanie, Alexandra, women he met in medical school and others he picked up in bars. And he acted as if he cared deeply about them all. "I don't know what he said in the bedroom, but whenever they would come through the door, they would act like they were long-lost lovers."
"When Rosemarie and Yazeed were first dating, they broke up once over his infidelity. Rosemarie Essa was at a hair salon chatting with her stylist about her new boyfriend, when the stylist said she knew another woman who was dating a doctor named Yazeed. They were apart for less than a year before Essa decided she was the one he wanted to marry and managed to win her back.
Photo: Yazeed Essa
Firas Essa "It was because he had affairs and it caused me concern. I was looking at it that normal people wouldn't understand."
Assistant County Prosecutor Dever (Regarding Michelle Madeline, nurse at Akron General Hospital) "Did he consider her special?"
Firas Essa "As special as the rest of them."
Assistant County Prosecutor Dever - Shows the jury a love letter from Yazeed Essa to Madeline Michelle - it reads:
"You have changed my life and my idea of being in love. I guess it really does exist. Even though it has been a very brief period of time since you and I have been together, it has been one of the best periods of my life. ... You are the woman I was always meant to be with. I never believed in a soul mate. But I do now... I will forever love only you."
Firas Essa to "It sounds like a line of crap. Sounds like what he needed to say to continue getting in her pants."
ROSEMARIE ESSA - YAZEED ESSA - TRIAL TESTIMONY
2010 - February 1 - Rosemarie Essa faded in and out of consciousness as her vehicle crossed a
median and clipped another car. Her vehicle idled slowly forward until a
witness to the accident chased down the vehicle, hopped into the passenger
seat and pulled the emergency brake
Prosecutors played a video from a police vehicle's dashboard camera.
It showed paramedics carrying Rosemarie Essa on a stretcher away
from her SUV.
A police officer describe Rosemarie's last minutes, gasping for air
and having seizures while enroute to the hospital. Within the hour,
Rosemarie Essa was pronounced deceased at the hospital.
Photo: Rosemarie Essa
Patrolman David Schiciano " I notified her husband, Yazeed Essa, who had
just arrived at the hospital."
"I said I'm sorry for his loss and I explained to him what had happened today.
I told him that his wife was involved in a motor vehicle accident."
Prosecutor "How he respond to that information?"
Patrolman David Schiciano "He was very calm."
Prosecutors - Yazeed Essa hoped injuries Rosemarie suffered as a result of the car accident
would "camouflage his crime."
Dr. David Dolinak (Deputy Coroner) (performed Rosemarie Essa's autopsy)
"The 38-year-old mother of two suffered no injuries and seemed to be in perfect health upon examination."
"When I could not find any immediate causes of death, I screened for alcohol, cocaine, heroin, opiates, methadone, nerve relaxants and other prescription or illegal drugs. The tests uncovered nothing, so I began searching for more common poisons -- carbon monoxide, arsenic, antifreeze, mercury, lead and other heavy metals."
"I started to suspect she had ingested contaminated pills after police detectives told me they had collected her calcium supplements and prenatal vitamins for testing."
Dr. Dolinak testified that "I and others from the coroner's office examined Rosemarie Essa's vehicle and found dried saliva and vomit that tested positive for cyanide."
"The cyanide, among the rarest poisons, might have gone undetected had Rosemarie Essa suffered injuries in the crash. If her injuries were enough to cause the death, we'll carry on with routine drug and alcohol testing. "But that's it. The cause of death is the injuries."
"In the days following Essa's death, her husband appeared calm, composed and matter-of-fact in his dealings with the coroner's office -- not the typical behavior of a grieving husband, stunned by the sudden death of his young and healthy wife. It wasn't the response I would have expected.
Normally families are pretty demanding. They don't seem to accept undetermined or unknown as a cause of death. They really want to know what happened. Knowing that is pretty powerful, it gives closure. I'm used to being pressured by families to come up with something as to cause of death."
Mark Marein (Defense Attorney) "asked Dr. Dolinak about the telltale signs of cyanide poisoning -- the odor of burnt almonds upon opening the body cavity, burns in the mouth where vomit might have passed and a pink hue to the skin that is conspicuously different from the bluish tone of the average dead body."
Dr. Dolinak "I did not take note of anything out of the ordinary about Rosemarie Essa�s appearance. In my years as a coroner, she was the only case of cyanide poisoning I had ever encountered."
Mark Marein (Defense Attorney) "asked about Rosemarie Essa's intentions to donate her organs upon death."
Dr. Dolinak "Before her autopsy, her corneas, femur and some tissues in her legs had been harvested for donation with the blessing of her husband.
Mark Marein (Defense Attorney) "suggested to jurors that Yazeed Essa, a former physician never would have consented to the organ donation had he known they were contaminated with cyanide and likely would poison their recipients."
The contaminated organs were not donated.
2010- February 1 - ROSEMARIE ESSA'S BROTHER TESTIFIES
Photo: Dominic DiPuccio (Rosemarie's brother)
Dominic DiPuccio - testified that he and his wife Julie are raising Rosemarie & Yazeed's two
"I loved Yazeed as my own brother."
" Yazeed called and told me "Rosie was in a real bad car accident, I need to get to the hospital, I need to drop the kids off at your house."
"At one point, Yazeed told a nurse there was no need to continue attempts to revive Rosie, because quote "she had been gone too long."
"I held and kissed my sister, while my siblings and parents cried at her bedside, as a priest read her her last rites.
"We were in full support of Yazeed until a phone call that night from Rosie's good friend Eva McGregor. I was in disbelief, she was hysterical and I couldn't believe what she had told me, I could not believe what she had just told me. Rosie was talking to Eva on her cell phone and Rosie indicated Yazeed gave her a calcium pill before she left the house that day and she felt very sick. I went and grabbed my brother and wife from inside the house and told them what I heard."
"The family didn't tell Yazeed that we then decided to request a full autopsy and screening for poison. I continued to press Yazeed about how Rosie could have died from a minor traffic accident. What could have happened, I asked him, and I just remember he kept saying 'they'll never, they're never going to find out what happened."
Gino Cassaro (Staff Nurse Hillcrest Hospital & Clinical Manager for the Emergency Room at the time) "Yazeed Essa's behavior moments after his wife was pronounced dead was peculiar and memorable. While Rosemarie Essa's two brothers sobbed at her bedside, clinging to their dead sister's body, Yazeed Essa stood silently at the foot of the gurney. Essa's arms were crossed and he watched the outpouring of grief without reaction. Then he approached one of his brothers-in-law tapped him on the shoulder, and said, "Let's go."
2010 - February 19 - Marguerita Montanez testifies.
The defense for Yazeed Essa has pointed to Montanez as their scapegoat to "throw under
the bus" and taint as the "real murderer" of Rosemarie Essa instead of their client.
Marguerita Montanez initially had lied to police about her affair with Yazeed Essa out of fear that her husband would find out. Montanez's husband was in the courtroom supporting her during her testimony.
Marguerita Montanez "I didn't tell them I had a relationship with Yazeed of any kind because
I was married...I was afraid. I was afraid that my husband would find
"I believe that he took advantage of my vulnerability, because my
husband and I were having problems.
"It was casual, it wasn't a boyfriend, girlfriend love affair, "friends with
benefits"...close friends who have sex on the side."
Defense Attorny Steven Bradley has throughout the trial tried to paint Marguerita Montanez
as being so in love with Yazeed Essa that she would commit murder to have him.
Prosecutor Steve Dever "At any time did you ever say to Yaz that you would only be
unfaithful with Yaz?"
Marguerita Montanez "Absolutely not."
Prosecutor "Did you kill Rosemarie Essa?
Montanez "No. No I did not."
Montanez "No I have never been crazed nor head over heels in love. I never wanted
to be the next Mrs. Essa."
"Did you love him?"
Montanez "No I never loved him."
Defense Steven Bradley "There's absolutely no reason whatsoever for you to mislead
these people concerning your relationship with Yazeed, is that right?"
Montanez "That's right."
Prosecutor "Did you in any way have anything to do with the death of Rosemary Essa?"
Montanez "Absolutely not."
Marguerita Montanez states that she looks back upon their affair with regret
and resentment. Presumably resentment for calling her a murderess.
Montanez "I despise him. I can't believe he has the nerve to look at me. It's despicable."
Dominic DiPuccio "Honestly I feel sorry for her, she's another victim, she obviously
made some mistakes, but she paid a pretty high price for having to humiliate herself
like that in public. Humiliate her husband and also have a finger pointed at her as
having something to do with my sister's death, which none of us believes she has
anything to do with it."
"Listening to the testimony is tough, but we've been hearing the lurid details over
the past five years. We're trying to be strong and trying to get through it."
2010 - February 16 - Rosemarie Essa's friend Eva McGregor testifies.
Eva MacGregor & Rosemarie Dipuccio's friendship:
Their friendship began when Rosemarie was 4 and Eva was 15 and babysat Rosemarie.
They became close friends as Rosemarie grew up. She babysat for Eva's children, who
when they grew up later babysat Rosemarie's children.
A close relationship:
Rosemarie and Eva spoke together at least once a week, sometimes every day.
They shared personal stories, plans and anxieties.
Rosemarie & Yazeed's early relationship:
Rosemarie was happy when first dating Yazeed. "One day when having
her hair done at a salon, Rosemarie overhears a stylist talking about
dating a man named Yazeed, who was also a doctor."
Rosemarie split up with Yazeed.
"She was incredulous that the man she loved could betray her trust the way he had.
Rosemarie tried to move on with her life but before she went on a date with another
man, she learned from her doctor that she had contracted herpes from Yazeed Essa.
She was too embarassed and upset to purse the new relationship."
Yazeed Essa managed to win Rosemarie back despite Eva's warnings.
Eva MacGregor "My relationship with her was very honest and straightforward.
I told her, "What makes you think things will change? He's a doctor, and he
gave you herpes."
2005 - January - DAMNING TESTIMONY EXCLUDED FROM TESTIMONY
(Excluded from evidence because it constitutes hearsay.)
Eva MacGregor and Rosemarie Essa are having lunch together and Rosemarie
told Eva that she had accidentally sipped from a soda bottle left in her car and
discovered that it contained antifreeze. Rosemarie confronted Yazeed about it
and he told her that he "accidentally spilled" the chemical into the bottle while
he was working on the car."
Eva MacGregor "I found the story deeply disturbing and cause for suspicion.
When Rosemarie told me she had taken the calcium pill, I said "I thought you
weren't going to take anything from him?"
THE FINAL CONVERSATION
2005 - February 24 - Eva MacGregor is on the telephone with Rosemarie Essa.
It is the last conversation she'll ever have with her friend.
"Rosemarie Essa called to chat as she drove to meet her sister for a matinee movie."
"We talked lightheartedly about our children and about my teenage daughter
who was about to go on her first date,"
"Then Rosemarie said she felt nauseated. Yazeed had been insisting she take
calcium to prevent osteoporosis, and he handed her one of the capsules
before she left. Rosemarie told me she would hang up the phone and call
Yazeed to ask about her symptoms."
"When Dominic DiPuccio, delivered the news later that evening that Rosemarie
had died in a minor car accident, "I collapsed, inconsolable on the kitchen floor,
and handed off the phone to my husband." MacGregor states she struggled to
find a way to break the news to her teenage daughters, who babysat regularly
for the Rosemarie."
Eva MacGregor testifies that she called Dominic DiPuccio back and told him
about the calcium pill and about her concern after the previous
conversation she had had with Rosemarie in January.
Eva MacGregor testifies she was troubled to hear that Yazeed Essa had claimed
Rosemarie suffered from heart palpitations, and that she explained her concerns to
"I spent that night pacing and deliberating what I would do with the information I had.
And in the morning, I called Yazeed and asked him what, in his medical opinion,
he believes might have happened to Rosemarie.
"Yazeed Essa seemed stunned when I told him I was the last to speak with
Rosemarie and wondered aloud about the calcium pill. I asked if he thought
the pills could have been contaminated, and he said he didn't know."
"I asked Yazeed once more about the pills before the funeral - this time in the
presence of others, because Iwanted everyone to be aware that Yazeed gave
Rosemarie the pill.
"I wanted them to look into her death. She didn't complain to me at all about
palpitations. She would have told me if she had palpitations."
2010 - February 17 - Detective Gary McKee (Highland Heights Police Department) was
the investigating officer in the case.
Detective McKee "There was enough cyanide in Rosemarie Essa’s body to kill nine
"I was able to rule out suicide during the investigation because she (Rosemarie Essa) had not sought treatment for mental health issues and she wanted more children."
"I could rule out product tampering."
McKee admits during his testimony that he did not find a direct link between Yazeed Essa
and the calcium pills.
Anna Faraglia (Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor) "That is the only man that did it. (pointing at Yazeed Essa)." He is cunning, self-absorbed, and the only one who would have killed his wife."
"That man could not control himself. Essa was motivated by a desire to end his marriage and live with his mistress."
"Essa, a doctor with an oath to protect life, instead killed his wife,nstead of protecting life, he destroys it by handing her a pill. He knew what was in that pill."
The defense claim that Essa had no motive and moved easily between his family life and his affairs. It's a sad, sad, sad joke."
The Defense moves for a mistrial - Denied.
2010 - March - 2 - JURY RECEIVES THE CASE BEFORE LUNCH.
They deliberate until 4:30 P.M and then retired for the night. Deliberation
will resume tomorrow morning.
2010 - March 4 - The jury has deliberated and again retired at the end of the day without
a verdict. Deliberations will resume tomorrow on Friday, March 5th.
2010 - March 5 - Friday - 1:10 P.M. - The jury has rendered a verdict of GUILTY of Aggravated
Murder against Yazeed Essa.
Sentencing is expected to take place on Tuesday, March 9, 2010.
Yazeed (41) faces Life in Prison with the possibility of parole after serving 20 years.
The 12 jurors and alternate jurors spoke to the media:
There was only one vote taken over the three days of deliberation. The verdict was unanimous.
The jury considered and reviewed the 204 pieces of evidence, giving Essa the benefit of the doubt, and took their obligation of being fair and impartial seriously.
Regarding Firas Essa:
Juror "Initially, he was very controlled and guarded, emotionally and physically, and then when he came back, he seemed to just kind of let his guard down and speak the truth."
Regarding Yazeed Essa & his demeanor:
Juror "He looked like a stone. He didn't look like he took too much emotion from it, even
though what happened is very serious."
Juror "A lot of grieving people care or at least give some type of emotion."
Juror "I was watching him the whole time during the trial. There was no expression on his
face. He hadn't seen these kids in a long time. There was no expression on his face."
Regarding the Defense theory, "the mistress did it":
Juror "It ended up being pretty weak. They never really put any of the mistresses in the
house before Rosemarie died. I don't think that was hammered home or brought up."
2010 - March 9 - SENTENCING
Judge Deena Calabrese sentenced Yazeed Essa:
Life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years.
If parole would be granted at that time, Yazeed Essa would be in his 60's.
Yazeed Essa and his attorneys have 30 days to appeal.
Judge Deena Calabrese "I regret that you have the benefit of committing this crime
under the old law," "You took an oath to preserve life and you destroyed your family.
I cannot imagine the evil that you have done to these people, especially your children.
It is my great hope and the only that I can think of at this moment that they forget you ...
and that whatever legacy you had is wiped away."
VIDEO of sentencing
VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENTS
VIDEOS of statements and sentencing
Rocco DiPuccio (Rosemarie's father) He spoke about raising a family and described most
of his life as "lucky." "But in 2005 when Rosie was murdered, my luck ran out." "We lost our
Rosie for no reason, it's been five years of mourning, of adjusting and just a changed life for
all of us. We don't always understand some of [God's] works, but we've always been taught
that someday we will understand, we've been looking for that. Meantime we'll keep the faith
and do our best to make sure [our grandchildren] will use Rosie as an example of how to
live as a loving, kind, compassionate human being."
Virginia "Gigi" DiPuccio (Rosemarie's mother) "What do you say to a person
that murders the mother of his children, a murdering coward with no heart, no compassion,
Virginia described Yazeed as having a blank stare with, 'The devil in his eyes,' and then
announced, "May your life in prison be as miserable as you are."
"All she wanted was children and a husband that loved her back and you took that away.
She didn't deserve it. "It didn't go your way. She got you, Yaz, and the Essa curse ends
here today. We have Rosie in our memory. She's in our hearts and with us always."
"Our family has something you don't have; heart, love, compassion and strength, and a
higher power that will get us all through this."
Eva McGregor (Rosemarie's best friend) She spoke about how she used to babysit for Rosie. "I wait for the day we will be reunited. I will miss her until I see her
again, until we both rest in the peace of God."
Julie DiPuccio (Rosmarie's sister in law) (now raising Armand & Lena, Rosemarie's
children with her own.) Julie spoke of the simplicity of family life, and how a basic
family rule is to love and "play nice." She spoke about five years of hardship and pain,
trying to raise the children while their father fled the country and then stood trial for
Julie spoke of the conviction, and said, "It will ensure that he will never hurt again.
[Yaz] is a pitiful example of a human being. He will never know what it is to give love."
"What you took from us can never be replaced.... His only concerns are for himself. He
did not stop to think about the permanent damage he instilled upon his children, his own
family, not even his mother."
Armand and Lena. "Since that moment we brought them into our home we made sure
we gave all the children the love and security they need to survive this ordeal.... You
cannot imagine the fear that he put into their minds when they found out their father,
their uncle was lost [when he fled the country]. They feared we too would be lost."
The children often cried themselves to sleep at night."
"We will make sure [the children] never have the influence of Yaz in their life again,"
"We will make sure goodness will prevail. Each and everyday I will stay strong for
Rosie and I will make sure he stays behind bars."
"I promise I will make sure all the children know what it means to "play nice."
Dominic DiPuccio (Rosemarie's brother) read a statement from Armand & Lena.
"I miss her terribly each and every day. We are happy children and love our new family.
We love or new mom and our new dad and new brothers and sisters, but we are sad too.
We hold our mommy close to our heart as we fall asleep at night. We were sad that she
wasn't there when we first learned to read or ride our bikes, we are sad when we play
[sports] and she is not there to cheer us on. We are sad when we come home with
[good grades] and she is not there. We are sad at Christmas and Easter when we
run down the stairs and she is not there to greet us. We are sad when we think about
her and miss her but she is no where to be found but in our hearts. We are sad that
our old dad's heart shrunk just like the Grinch's. But we are happy that we are safe.
Dominic turned to face Yazeed Essa and said "This is the last chance for you to say
you're sorry," "Are you a man or not?"
Yazeed Essa made no response.
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