Video: Cyanide murder suspect arrested

updated 10/9/2006 2:54:50 PM ET 2006-10-09T18:54:50

A fugitive doctor charged in the cyanide poisoning death of his wife was arrested in Cyprus and will be brought back to the United States to face trial, the FBI said Monday.

Yazeed Essa, 38, of Gates Mills, east of Cleveland, was arrested Saturday as he attempted to clear customs after arriving in Cyprus from Beirut, Lebanon, the FBI said in a news release.

Authorities in Cyprus questioned Essa because they suspected his travel documents were fraudulent, said Scott Wilson, an FBI agent in Cleveland.

Essa was arrested on a charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution stemming from the aggravated murder charge filed against him in February. If convicted of aggravated murder, Essa could be sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. He will be held in Cyprus until U.S. authorities can extradite him to Cleveland.

His lawyer, Larry Zukerman, said he could not yet comment because he did not have all the facts about Essa’s confinement.

Essa disappeared three weeks after his wife, Rosemarie, collapsed in her car about five miles from the couple’s home and died Feb. 24, 2005.

Before she collapsed, she called a friend on a cell phone, gasping for air, and said her husband made her take calcium pills and she didn’t feel well, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors have said they believe Essa, an emergency room doctor, was having an affair with a nurse and wanted to be free of his 38-year-old wife. Prosecutors characterized the killing as a “divorce substitute.”

Rosemarie Essa’s family issued a statement saying: “We are hopeful that this development will lead to the answers that we have been seeking since Rosie’s death and will mark the beginning of the end of this heartbreaking ordeal for our family.”

A brother of Rosemarie Essa, Dominic DiPuccio, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Yazeed Essa in February, asking for a jury trial to determine damages.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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