So Essam Eid will not be going to his daughter’s graduation. The three judge Court of Criminal Appeal today refused his bid to have his six year sentence reduced to allow him to be present when his daughter Aya graduates from college in Chicago in May. Instead he’ll have to wait until March next year to get out of jail.
Despite the valiant attempts of his barrister David Sutton SC to paint him as a buffoon, an “eccentric middle aged man” who had played the part of the hitman in the trial that went “from the souks of Cairo to the gaming halls of Las Vegas, via the Queens Hotel in Ennis”, the judges could not see past the fact that Eid had demanded a considerable amount of money with significant menaces.
Eid may have been one of the most incompetent criminals to pass through the Central Criminal Court in recent years, with a record of being caught on the two occasions he tried to break the law, but when he demanded €100,000 from Robert Howard to drop a hit on the lives of Robert, his brother Niall and his father PJ, Robert believed the threat was genuine. The brothers were undoubtedly shaken by their ordeal and their Victim Impact Statement spoke of continuing feelings of fear.
Eid never came across as anything other than a rather charismatic joker during his trial. even after his appeal was turned down today he still went back to his cell laughing with the garda that led him out of the court in handcuffs. He’ll go back to his poker school in Limerick prison, apparently he’s been teaching everyone to play poker but the former Las Vegas dealer is still too good for them.
There might be an edge of steel behind that jocular persona perhaps, certainly his former paramour Teresa Engle told a psychologist ahead of her trial in the States that he was a Machiavellian sex fiend who kept her trapped in the house, apart from the odd trip to Ennis to shake down the Howards. Mind you, the sex slave aspect of their relationship went unnoticed by both Eid’s other wife Lisa and Aya, both of whom were living in the house at the time, although Lisa did agree there had been the odd threesome. By all accounts the 54-year-old had lived a very complicated romantic life before he ran into trouble.
We were reminded today how much Eid had lost by his involvement in the whole hitmanforhire.us set up. He had lost his house in Las Vegas, his boat, the bright yellow sports car he sent email pictures of to Sharon Collins, the Devil in the Red Dress. He had also lost the love and companionship of every one of his women. Certainly Teresa’s back with her ex-husband Todd, who even gave her a character reference when she stood trial for her involvement in the other shake down she and Eid carried out.
The so-called Royston affair featured large over the past two days. This was the case in Los Angeles a few weeks before the events in Ennis. Lauren Roysten was the woman who Marissa Marks had hired Eid and Engle to bump off to free up her ex boyfriend. The similarities between the two cases are striking. Both Marissa Marks and Sharon Collins approached the hitmanforhire website looking for an answer to their problems. And both times Eid decided to shake down not the women who had something to lose if their murderous intent was revealed but the innocent parties who, predictably went straight to the cops.
Until the ill fated website Eid had a clean record, he wouldn’t have got the job in the Bellaggio casino on the famous Las Vegas Strip without one. We were told today that there was a matter in Canada but we were not told what it was and it was not taken into account for the purposes of today’s appeal.
I’ve always enjoyed the saga of Essam Eid but it was indicative of the general attitudes towards the case that once we were told that the fate Sharon Collins’ appeal would not be announced until the new term after Easter, there was a mass exodus as quite a few of the hacks who had turned up for the appeal went to file what they had and ignored Eid.
As I said yesterday it’s been odd going back to a story I know so well. When I wrote Devil in the Red Dress I was totally immersed in the story but so much has happened since it’s taken a bit of dredging to find the finer points of the case. Anyway, the book is available in good bookshops and on Amazon if you want to read the whole thing. There’s the whole story there, as well as all the emails between Lyingeyes and Hire_hitman, otherwise known as Tony Luciano as well as the people who filled out the website’s application form. OK plug over for the time being. Links to all the websites mentioned in the trial are on the right and there’s also the potted story of the trial in the The Story of the Book tab.