Bristolville man pleads in case of murder-for-hire

TOLEDO – A Bristolville man who once worked as a Cleveland Clinic nurse pleaded guilty Thursday to crimes for his role in a $10,000 murder-for-hire plot.

Andrew Martin, 23, pleaded guilty to use of an interstate commerce facility in the commission of murder-for-hire, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and obtaining individually identifiable health information, according to the U.S. Justice Department in Cleveland.

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.

The case has been prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Henry F. DeBaggis and Kelly L. Galvin following an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the Maple Heights Police Department and Lakewood Police Department.

Martin is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Christopher Boyko on July 18 and faces between seven and nine years in prison.