CLEVELAND – A former Cleveland Clinic nurse was sentenced to 12 years in prison Wednesday for trying to hire an emergency room patient as a hit man.
Andrew Martin offered $10,000 to an ER patient to kill a woman in a dispute over ownership of her deceased brother's home, authorities said. The patient tipped off police that he had been asked by a nurse if he "ever killed anyone," investigators said.
Martin, of Bristolville, about 50 miles east of Cleveland, earlier pleaded guilty to orchestrating the murder-for-hire plot. He had faced a seven- to nine-year term under federal sentencing guidelines. He also was ordered to pay more than $83,000 in restitution.
His attorney, Edward LaRue, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Martin admitted in April to using a phone to further the plot and also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and trying to obtain private medical records.
The Plain Dealer reported that during Wednesday's hearing, Martin said he couldn't recognize his voice in a secretly recorded wire-tap that prosecutors played in which Martin could be heard talking to the supposed hit man, but U.S. District Judge Christopher Boyko countered Martin's argument.
"Yes, that was you, the darker side of Andrew Martin, but that was you," Boyko said. "Thank God no one was hurt or killed, but it wasn't for lack of effort."
Martin was arrested in November. The Cleveland Clinic quickly parted ways with him.
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, 23, used his position there to access the 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 ex-patient's home, prosecutors said.
A yearlong ownership fight began in probate court. A judge eventually sided with the administrator of the former owner's estate and voided a backdated deed.
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 allegedly asked the man, whose name wasn't disclosed.
"Yes, no, maybe," the ER patient responded cautiously, according to the affidavit.
Martin pressed ahead, according to the affidavit, asking, "Ever killed anyone?"
"I shot someone in the leg once," the patient responded.
Martin offered him $10,000 to kill the woman, authorities said. He also described her and her car and provided where she lived, prosecutors said.