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Wife planned drug scheme against PTA volunteer, husband's lawyer says

Prosecutors say the Irvine father knew about his wife's plans to frame the woman by planting drugs in her car.

November 06, 2013|By Adolfo Flores

An Irvine father accused of helping set up a PTA volunteer in a phony drug bust says it was actually his wife who masterminded the scheme, his attorney told jurors Wednesday.

Kent Wycliffe Easter, 40, is accused of felony false imprisonment for his alleged role in having school volunteer Kelli Peters arrested after he called police to report she had drugs in the back seat of her car.

His wife, Jill Bjorkholm Easter, 40, who was accused of planting the drugs, pleaded guilty last month to false imprisonment.

The case stems from a 2010 disagreement between Jill Easter and Peters, in which Jill Easter said the after-school volunteer did not bring her son out quickly enough when she went to pick him up at Plaza Vista Elementary.

"I'll get you," Peters testified Jill Easter told her.

Following the incident, the Easters tried to get Peters fired, got a restraining order and filed a lawsuit against the volunteer, prosecutors said.

But Kent Easter had no idea his wife had planted the drugs, said his attorney, Thomas Bienert.

"This is a case of a trusting husband, no more, no less," Bienert said.

Kent Easter was coerced by his wife to report the drugs she claimed to have seen in Peters' car, Bienert told jurors.

Bienert said Kent Easter was in bed sick when his wife put bags with marijuana, a used marijuana pipe, Vicodin and Percocet in the back seat of Peters' car.

The next afternoon, Kent Easter called Irvine police from a public phone, giving authorities a false name and address.

Prosecutors allege Kent Easter remained in contact with his wife during the call, texting her as the plot unfolded. Video of him entering the Island Hotel in Newport Beach where the call was made was played Wednesday.

The pair, who are both attorneys, has since separated but not divorced, Bienert said.

But prosecutors maintain that Kent Easter was aware of the scheme. Anticipating Jill Easter's testimony, prosecutor Chris Duff warned jurors not to believe her.

"She's probably going to say she did everything and everything is her fault," Duff said. "At the end of the day when you hear the evidence you're not going to believe her testimony, you're going to hear all the lies she's told."

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