She had grown isolated from her friends and had finally asked to change schools.Even now, Kent Easter was still waffling on what he did, while his ex-wife showed “not an ounce of remorse,” Marcereau said. He reminded jurors that a promotional spot had appeared on You Tube, right around the time drugs were planted.It had featured a dramatic voice-over by Kent Easter: “If you knew how to commit a perfect crime, would you do it?

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She was now calling herself Ava Everheart, and so he began, “Good afternoon, Ms.

Everheart.” “Good afternoon.” He began by acknowledging the damage he’d done to her name.

She surveyed the courtroom and said, “I think I am the person that went to the best law school in this room, to be honest with you, and I am proud of that. “I am not a school terrorizer, as I have read about myself.” She wanted to dispel a misconception about her self-published crime thriller, “Holding House,” which Marcereau had invoked to illustrate her preoccupation with “the perfect crime.” “The point of the book is these people think they have the perfect crime, and then it gets really messed up,” she said. You can’t think of one in your head because you will always be fooled, and that is the point of the book.” Marcereau did not see much value in a lengthy cross-examination. A UCLA Law grad who was sharing an apartment with his parents.

Doesn’t mean I am spoiled, or a bad person.” But now her reputation was ruined, she complained. She was disbarred, her law degree from Berkeley’s Boalt Hall useless. His savings eviscerated by a quarter-million dollars in legal fees.

“I probably could have treated you a little better, couldn’t I have? “Yes.” “Despite all of that you have still been kind to me and haven’t sought revenge, right? I don’t know if you remember those days.” “Yes.” She was living with her parents in Newport Beach. No more questions.” It was time for Kent Easter to call his most important witness, and so he uttered one of the most melancholy sentences jurors would hear: “At this time I would just be calling myself.” He took the stand, wearing one of the unassuming sweaters that had seemed his sole wardrobe through the trial.

Her father was an astrophysicist and inventor, but she did not mention this. She had worked three jobs to put herself through school. 16, 2011, you planted illegal drugs in Kelli Peters’ car, true? He turned to the jury box and explained that he was, at 41, a broken man.When Easter put on his case now and called her to the stand — with a sign-language interpreter on hand for her claimed hearing loss — he did not seem angry at the woman he claimed had ruined him.Instead, his tone seemed almost wistful, his gaze tender.When his turn came, Easter told jurors that Peters’ tale of suffering was full of “exaggerations and embellishments.” He said he took responsibility for what happened to her, though he did so only in the vaguest terms.And he added: “The fact that something very bad was done to a person does not give them a winning Powerball number.” Marcereau put Easter on the stand. This was before the arrests and the trials and the cameras, before his pedigree became a cudgel with which to flog him, before strangers were writing him letters urging him to kill himself. He was rehearsing a plea for mercy — his closing argument to jurors weighing his financial fate.