Cleveland Clinic nurse accused of murder-hire plot

An Ohio man hatched a plot to kill a woman he was in a home-ownership dispute with, authorities say, by approaching an emergency room patient at the renowned hospital where he worked as a nurse with the question, "Ever killed anyone?"
Associated Press
Jan 17, 2013

No, the Cleveland Clinic patient replied, but I once shot a man.

That was good enough, authorities say, for nurse Andrew Martin, 23, who allegedly tried to resolve the dispute by offering the patient $10,000 to kill the woman, who was never hurt.

Martin, of the town of Bristolville about 50 miles east of Cleveland, has pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 7 in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. His attorney, Edward LaRue, said "there's much more to come" in the case.

According to a federal affidavit that reads like a combination of real-estate law and backroom conspiracy, Martin somehow hooked up with a man named David Simons, who had done occasional carpentry work for an elderly man, George Warehime. How Martin and Simons met wasn't detailed.

Warehime died Dec. 4, 2010, at age 83 after years of decline. Doctors said he showed evidence of Alzheimer's disease. The administrator of his estate, sister Joy Comey, put his house up for sale and lined up a buyer.

She was stunned to visit the home Nov. 21, 2011, and find Martin and another man, David Simons. They claimed her brother had deeded the house to them nine months earlier without cost.

Getting the house could enrich the men. It is valued at $193,000 for tax purposes.

Comey, whose exact age is unclear, said her brother never mentioned giving up his home, on a tree-lined boulevard in a desirable neighborhood in Lakewood, minutes from Cleveland. Comey lived near him in the area blocks from Lake Erie and visited him frequently to care for him.

Comey called police, and a yearlong ownership fight began in probate court. A judge eventually sided with Comey and voided a backdated deed notarized under questionable circumstances.

Comey argued that the two men took advantage of her brother, who was found in 2009 to have memory loss and dementia. He couldn't hear well.

Simons claimed the deed to the house showed up in his mail box without explanation. His attorney quit in the middle of the probate case, fearful that his client was involved in fraud, court records said.

Martin is accused of using a cellphone to discuss the plot, and because the cellular network crosses states lines, he is being charged in federal court, instead of state court, with the murder-for-hire scheme.

Irritated that "this 70-year-old lady, she has been trying to mess up my life," Martin approached an ER patient who "looked like a big guy," according to the federal affidavit.

"Ever hurt anyone?" Martin allegedly asked the man, whose name wasn't disclosed.

"Yes, no, maybe," the ER patient responded cautiously.

Martin pressed ahead, according to the affidavit, asking, "Ever killed anyone?"

"I shot someone in the leg once," the patient responded.

Satisfied the man lived in a tough Cleveland neighborhood, Martin allegedly offered him $10,000 to kill Comey. Martin described her and her car and provided her address, prosecutors say.

When the patient tipped a police officer, Comey was alerted and went into hiding.

The threat caused her anguish, and "she was deeply disturbed, as one would expect," said her probate attorney, Franklin Hickman.

Calls to Comey's home went unanswered, and Hickman said he had advised her not to talk to reporters.

The Cleveland Clinic, a research hospital known for its nationally ranked heart care, suspended Martin without pay when he was arrested in November. The clinic said Wednesday, without elaboration, that he was no longer employed there as of Dec. 27.

Martin was locked up without bail to await trial. Calls to a phone listed in his family name in Bristolville went unanswered.

LaRue, his attorney, said a picture of a hard-working young man would emerge at Martin's trial.

"He's been remarkably productive," he said. "He's been working ever since the age of 15. He's 23 now and has attained a certain degree of business acumen in the world, as well as a nursing license."

Simons could not be reached for comment. A bankruptcy court filing from last year showed he had debts of nearly $150,000; he wasn't charged in the alleged murder plot.

Last May, in the middle of the probate fight, Simons took out a $600,000 insurance policy on the house, according to the federal affidavit. Ten days later, an early morning fire later declared arson damaged the house, and the insurer rescinded the policy.

Local prosecutors declined to comment on any investigation involving suspected house fraud or arson.

There is little evidence of the fire at the spacious house, which remains boarded up and padlocked by the city.

 

Comments

Julie R.

His attorney quit in the middle of a probate case, fearful that his client was involved in fraud?

I could have a real field day on THIS one. It even proves that not even the courts in Cuyahoga County are as CORRUPT as the ones in Erie County.

Julie R.

In Erie County attorneys don't quit in the middle of probate cases because they're fearful that their clients are involved in fraud on property and otherwise. That's because when it comes to Erie County the ATTORNEYS are also involved in the FRAUD. In fact, had it not been for attorneys --- not to mention the auditor that authorized it and the recorder who knowingly filed fraud documents --- the fraud on my mother's property could not have taken place.

luvblues2

Are you gonna do anything about it Jules? Other than bitching incessantly about it in here?

Julie R.

Kind of hard to do anything when your joke courts wouldn't even address the facts staring them right in the face. Isn't that illegal?

Julie R.

@ luvblues2: Somebody made a comment once that an attorney told him: "There's the law .... and then there's the law in Eeerie County." He sure did get THAT right. You should also be glad that I'm telling about these joke laws. After all, it could affect YOU tomorrow.

* The real law in every state --- before property can be transferred under a Power of Attorney, the Power of Attorney must be on file for a period of three months prior to the transfer in the recorder of the county in which the property is situated.

The "law" in Erie County --- if an attorney prepares a quitclaims deed to transfer the property (of an elderly, incompetent person) and the attorney states that a Power of Attorney (concealed in another county) is on file in the Erie County Recorder, the auditor is required by law to take the attorney's word for it. (if you don't believe it, call up the auditor's office and ask)

* The real law in every state --- a recorder of a county is required by law to make sure all filings on property are true and accurate.

The "law" in Erie County --- a recorder of a county is required by law to file everything he or she is given to file, no matter how untrue, incorrect, or fraudulent she knows the filings to be. (if you don't believe it, call up the prosecutor's office and ask)

And then there's the law that says "before property that's part of an estate can be sold, if the administrator of the estate is aware of any fraud on the property then the administrator and/or his or her attorneys are to commence an action in the common pleas of the county in which the property is situated to have the fraud acknowledged."

That law sure doesn't apply to Erie County, either. Instead, if attorneys are aware of fraud committed on property, the snakes file scam partition actions in the common pleas to have the property with serious defects in the title sold at scam sheriff sales under fraud prelminary judicial reports.

* There's even a law that says a court can not make any decision in a case until all complaints have been addressed and resolved. (I know for an absolute FACT that law doesn't apply to Erie County, either)

luvblues2

Then get a lawyer, Jules. If all you say is true, I imagine there are plenty out there who would willingly take your case for payment after they won said case.

Julie R.

Why would I hire another sneaky rat attorney? To work in collusion with the sneaky courts, maybe? Like the one that filed and dismissed a bogus sham lawsuit in the jurisdiction of Cuyahoga County and then filed a scam partition action in the Erie County common pleas court to sell property with serious defects in the title at a scam sheriff sale?

If the Clerk of Courts ever gets records online I'll show you step-by-step how they pulled off that illegal scam.