A Southern California couple has been ordered to pay $5.7 million in damages to the former PTA president they tried to frame by planting drugs in her car and calling the police (using a faux Indian accent). It took a jury less than an hour to find that Kent Easter and his now ex-wife Jill Easter—both former lawyers—acted with malice, oppression, or fraud in February 2011 when they stashed pot, Vicodin, and Percocet in Kelli Peters' car, the Orange County Register reports. "This was really not about money, this was about standing up to people that pick on other people and telling them it’s not OK to do this," an emotional Peters tells the Register. "I feel like justice has been served." The attempt to frame Peters was the culmination of a yearlong campaign to get her dismissed as a volunteer at Plaza Vista School in Irvine.
It all started in February 2010 when Jill Easter was upset that her son wasn't waiting in front of the school at pick-up time. Peters testified that she said the 7-year-old may have been "slow to line up." Perceiving an insult to her son's intelligence, Jill Easter (now calling herself Ava Everheart) became enraged. Here's a rundown, according to OC Weekly, of the Easters' actions:
- They claimed Peters had locked their son in the school.
- Jill Easter distributed fliers at school outlining Peters' fictitious misdeeds.
- They filed a police report against her.
- They claimed Peters was stalking their son.
- They filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against her.
Kent Easter was ultimately sentenced to 87 days in jail in the drug-planting incident, while Jill Easter got 60 days. During the recent civil trial, Kent Easter claimed that Peters was exaggerating her level of distress (she was detained at the school for some two hours while parents, students, and her daughter watched). "The fact that something really bad was done to a person does not give them a winning Powerball number," he told the jury.