Bristolville nurse to plead in murder-for-hire case

CLEVELAND – A nurse from Bristolville issued a notice of intent to plead guilty next week to charges that he attempted to hire a patient he was treating at the Cleveland Clinic to murder a 70-year-old woman with whom he had a dispute.

Andrew Martin, 23, a Cleveland Clinic emergency room nurse, entered a notice to U.S. Northern District Judge Christopher Boyko in Cleveland that he intends to plead guilty at an April 18 hearing.

A federal grand jury filed a murder-for-hire indictment against Martin in December. The charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Authorities say Martin offered $10,000 to an ER patient to kill a woman in a dispute over ownership of her deceased brother’s Lakewood house. The woman says Martin took advantage of her brother, who suffered from dementia and died in 2010.

The woman, Joy Comey, wasn’t harmed. Investigators said the man Martin tried to hire went to the Mayfield Police Department and recorded phone conversations with Martin about killing Comey.

According to an affidavit filed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the plot stems from a deed to a home at 17225 Clifton Blvd. in Lakewood previously owned by George Warehime, who upon dying in December 2010 made Comey his estate administrator.

Martin’s friend, David Simons, attempted to file a quit-claim deed on the property Nov. 21, 2011, with Warehime’s signature dated February 2010, according to WYTV 33 News.

Investigators later found Simmons had approached a contractor who worked for Martin and asked him if he knew anyone who would notarize a backdated deed because the man who owned the house died before he could sign it.

Simons eventually got the backdated deed notarized by Rebecca E. Bungard, of Warren, whose father of her children is Martin’s fiancee’s father.

Simons and Martin know each other, the affidavit said, because they had been arrested by Shaker Heights police in August 2011 for theft. Martin was never charged and Simons was cited. Simons hired to be the property manager for 17225 Clifton Blvd.

Comey told investigators she went to her brother’s home in November 2011 and saw Simons and Martin inside. Simons claimed Warehime transferred the home to him and the Cuyahoga County recorders acknowledged the deed transfer but Cuyahoga County Cuyahoga County Probate Judge Laura Gallagher ruled in that case that Simons fraudulently obtained the deed on Nov. 26.

On May 15, 2012, before the ruling, Simons took out a $600,000 insurance policy on the Clifton Boulevard home. Ten days later, the house burned to the ground and Lakewood Fire Marshal investigators ruled the fire an arson. The affidavit states Simons was denied the insurance.

An emergency room patient told police that on Oct. 25, his nurse asked him where he was from and if he ever hurt or killed anyone. The man replied that he once shot someone in the leg, the affidavit states.

Martin then told the man he wanted to “take someone out.” The affidavit states Martin said “this 70-year-old lady is trying mess up my life.”

He instructed the man to go to her home, knock on the door and shoot her in the head four times, then make it look like a robbery, the affidavit states. He gave the man Comey’s Lakewood address and described the vehicle she drove.

They agreed to the $10,000 price and the men went to the Maple Heights Police Department after being released from the hospital about a week later.

The man told Martin he killed the woman and hid her in a basement closet and the man discussed their next moves while working, the affidavit states.

From WYTV 33 News and The Associated Press reports.