TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A former Cleveland Clinic nurse accused of trying to hire an emergency room patient to kill a woman pleaded guilty Thursday in a murder-for-hire plot.
Andrew Martin, 23, changed his plea in federal court, admitting to a charge of using a phone to further the plot. He had been accused of using a cellphone to discuss the plan.
Authorities say Martin offered $10,000 to an ER patient to kill a woman in a dispute over ownership of her deceased brother's home.
The patient tipped off police that he had been asked by a nurse if he "ever killed anyone," investigators said.
The woman was not harmed and Martin was arrested in November and pleaded not guilty a month later. The Cleveland Clinic said that he was no longer employed there as of late December.
Martin, of Bristolville, about 50 miles east of Cleveland, also admitted to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and trying to obtain private medical records.
He is due to be sentenced July 18.
In court documents filed Thursday, prosecutors said Martin and another man began plotting in October 2011 to take ownership of a home that had belonged to an elderly former patient at the hospital where Martin worked. The patient died in late 2010.
Martin used his position there to access that patient's medical records so the other man could claim to have had a personal relationship with him, prosecutors said.
They created a fake deed and claimed ownership of the home, prosecutors said.
According to a federal affidavit, the home was owned by George Warehime, who died at age 83 after years of decline. The administrator of his estate, Warehime's sister, Joy Comey, put his house up for sale and lined up a buyer.
She visited the home in November 2011 and found Martin and the other man, who wasn't charged in the murder plot. They claimed her brother had deeded the house to them nine months earlier without cost.
Comey said her brother never mentioned giving up his home in Lakewood, minutes from Cleveland.
A yearlong ownership fight began in probate court. A judge eventually sided with Comey and voided a backdated deed. Comey argued that the two men took advantage of her brother, who had memory loss and dementia.
Irritated that "this 70-year-old lady ... 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 asked the man, according to authorities.
Martin offered him $10,000 to kill Comey, authorities said. Martin described her and her car and provided her address, prosecutors say.