Things smelled off to Officer Charles Shaver from the outset. A 911 caller had reported a parent, "Kelli," driving erratically at Plaza Vista Elementary School in Irvine, Calif., on the afternoon of Feb. 16, 2011; the caller saw drugs in her car. As Christopher Goffard writes in "Framed: A Mystery in Six Parts" for the Los Angeles Times, Shaver did indeed find a bag containing pot, a pipe, Percocet, and Vicodin in the pouch behind Kelli Peters' driver's seat. But the caller said he saw Peters at 1:15; the PTA president had entered the school at 12:40. And Shaver had never seen someone "hide" their drugs by leaving them visibly hanging out a seat pouch, nor did pot smokers typically keep their pipe in the same bag as the marijuana. Incredibly, instead of arresting Peters, Shaver "kept asking questions," writes Goffard. "I have an enemy," she told him.
Some 364 days earlier, Peters had a bizarre encounter with Jill Easter, whose 6-year-old got accidentally and briefly left outside following tennis class. Peters had been leading the children in. She explained to Easter that the boy was slow; Easter took that to mean mentally, rather than in terms of pace. Jill and her husband Kent, both lawyers, filed and then dropped a civil suit alleging "false imprisonment." Then they did something more. Surveillance video at the hotel where police traced the call to, along with cellphone tower pings and text records from the Easters' phone, implicated them. What followed: search warrants; a wire worn by "Mr. Delicious, Jill's married lover; a crime lab report that found the Easters' DNA on the drugs; their arrests; and an "ingenious defense motion" that failed. Read the first four parts here; the remaining two will run Friday and Sunday. (Read more Longform stories.)