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Alleged Drug-Planting Duo Plead Not Guilty

The married attorneys are accused of trying to get a school volunteer arrested on drug charges.

Parents accused of planting prescription pills, marijuana and a pot pipe in the car of a parent-volunteer at their son's Irvine school pleaded not guilty Monday.

Kent Wycliffe Easter, 38, and Jill Bjorkholm Easter, 39, appeared in a Santa Ana courtroom for the hearing, which was delayed shortly while attorneys awaited a sign-language interpreter for Jill Easter, who has a "hearing issue," according to her attorney, Paul Meyer. She could hear her attorney up close, but had difficulty hearing Orange County Superior Court Walter Schwarm, Meyer said.

Kent Easter's attorney, Thomas Bienert Jr., declined comment after the arraignment.

The Easters are both registered attorneys; Jill Easter is listed as "inactive" on the State Bar of California's website. Kent Easter has been a member of the State Bar since 1998, and his status is listed as "active." Neither of the attorneys have any record of discipline, according to the State Bar's website.

According to Deputy District Attorney Chris Duff, the Easters are charged with conspiring to put painkillers—Vicodin and Percocet— and some cannabis and a pipe behind the driver's seat of the victim's vehicle.

The duo were upset about the parent-volunteer's supervision of their son at an elementary school, Duff said. The couple called and texted one another as Kent Easter drove to the woman's home to plant drugs in her unlocked vehicle just after midnight on Feb. 16, 2011, Duff alleged.

That afternoon, Kent Easter allegedly called Irvine police using a fake name and phone number from a Newport Beach hotel near his workplace. Duff said Kent Easter told police he was a concerned parent who saw the school volunteer's car being driven erratically at the campus.

Irvine police stopped the woman, who agreed to let police search her car and home. Officers started to doubt the drugs belonged to the woman, and the investigation led to the Easters, Duff said.

The duo were scheduled for arraignment on Aug. 23, but neither appeared. Their attorneys told the judge a "health emergency" necessitated a new hearing date.

The Easters were scheduled to return to court Oct. 12 for a pretrial hearing. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Nov. 9. 

—City News Service

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