Kent Wycliffe Easter Case Ends in Mistrial After Jury Can't Break 11-1 Deadlock to Convict
See Update No. 5 on page three 3 on the judge declaring a mistrial. Update No. 4 on page 2 had jurors being sent home deadlocked Wednesday. Update No. 3 is on the jury asking the judge for guidance. Update No. 2 is on Kent Easter testifying his "pushy" wife pushed him into framing a school volunteer who displeased them. Update No. 1 is on his pushy wife's lover being exposed as an Orange County firefighter who wore a wire around her.
ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 7, 7:30 A.M.: Kent Wycliffe Easter was a wimpy husband whose wife was cheating on him, wore the pants in the family and ordered him to make the phone call to police about a woman driving erratically before parking at an Irvine elementary school.
Just to be clear, that's 40-year-old Easter's defense.
His attorney also told jurors in the Santa Ana courtroom Wednesday that Easter had no idea his wife had planted drugs in the car of the school volunteer.
That flies in the face of a the 9-1-1 call played for jurors, which features the voice of Kent, who'd given a false name, saying the driver placed something behind her seat, and when the dispatcher asked if he could make out what it was, he replied, "It could be pills or something."
An Irvine Police officer later saw in plain view a bag filled with pills, marijuana and a used pot pipe and went inside the school to confront the driver, school volunteer Kelli Peters, about it.
Kent's attorney, Tom Bienert, told jurors his client was in bed and taking medication when his wife planted the drugs. But Senior Deputy District Attorney Chris Duff countered that tracking records indicate Kent's cell phone was near Peters' home in the early morning hours of Feb. 16, 2011, when the drugs were planted.
A grand jury indictment in October 2012 indicted investigators believed Kent, not his fellow attorney wife Jillianne Bjorkholm Easter, planted the drugs in Peters' car because Jill was upset over Peters having punished their son on the schoolyard.
But Bienert maintained that Jill took Kent's cell phone with her when she planted the drugs, and that she'd texted a man named Glenn with whom she was having an affair.
When the policeman asked the sobbing Peters who could have done this to her, she immediately answered the Easters, according to Duff, who said in court that the couple had tried to get her fired, sued her unsuccessfully and sought a restraining order against her.
Jill Easter, mastermind?
Duff mentioned that Jill Easter will testify for the defense and that he has no idea what she will say. The 40-year-old just cut a plea deal that had her copping to false imprisonment, having two other counts dismissed and being formally sentenced to a year in jail but only having to do 120 days behind bars and 100 hours of community service. Before Kent Easter's trial began, the prosecution dropped two of the three charges against him as well, leaving a false imprisonment count.
"Kent Easter was a trusting husband, what he wasn't was a standup to his wife," Bienert told jurors. "By the end of the trial, you will see that Kent was a good human being who didn't have a backbone against his wife, she wore the pants in the family."
The defense attorney, who claimed the couple has separated but not yet divorced, denied his client is guilty of imprisoning anyone--except perhaps himself in the marriage, am I right, people?--which would make him not guilty of the charge that could send him to prison for three years.
By the way, it was also disclosed today that Jill does not practice law and that Kent's firm fired him over the incident.
UPDATE NO. 1, NOV. 11, 6:30 A.M.: During Kent Easter's trial for allegedly planting drugs in the car of a rival parent at his son's elementary school, it was revealed Tuesday that his wife's lover is an Orange County firefighter.
But Jill Easter's flame Glenn Gomez never heard her speak with disdain about Kelli Peters, the target of the planted drugs in a bid to get her arrested, according to a police detective.
Testimony revealed Gomez even wore a wire to secretly tape Jill Easter, but she never admitted to doing anything wrong. That wouldn't come until last month in court, when the 40-year-old cut a plea deal that had her copping to false imprisonment in exchange for 120 days in jail.
Kent's trial continues ...