Utica, NY: Alleged Murder for Hire Attempt in Custody Case

Some people might think of trial lawyers as a bombastic lot, given to broad, theatrical gestures and inflammatory language.  Well, often they’d be right, but not here (Utica Observer-Dispatch, 10/26/10).

“What this really would mean, if you think about it, is she was trying to deprive this child of having a relationship with her natural father,’ [attorney Mark Wolber) said.

Yes, that’s one way of describing the attempt by a dad’s ex-wife to hire a co-worker to murder him.  I’d call it tastefully understated.

So far, these are all allegations; nothing is proven.  But what’s alleged is that Kristine Eastman of Sherrill, New York was embroiled in a dispute with her ex-husband, Damion Marino, over custody of their five-year-old daughter.

Wolber said Eastman and Marino divorced in 2008 and initially agreed to share custody 50-50. But Marino chose to petition for full custody of his daughter after the Oneida County Department of Social Services filed a petition in June accusing Eastman and her current husband of child neglect.

So, according to her co-workers at the Central New York Psychiatric Center where she worked as a nurse, Eastman proposed a murder-for-money deal to them.  Instead of accepting, they alerted the police.  Eastman is now in jail charged with second-degree felony criminal solicitation.

The custody hearing has been postponed pending the outcome of Eastman’s criminal case.  Marino has been granted full temporary custody during that time.

This is not the first time Eastman has tried to come between Marino and his daughter.  She filed “harassment” charges against him in September.  He successfully defended himself against those, a judge finding him not guilty.

As things stand, Marino is “pretty shake up by the whole thing,” according to Wolber.  I can imagine.

We’ll follow this case to see what a family court judge makes of an attempt by one parent to hire the murder of the other.

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