Fake Doctor Arrest

This is one of those days when I have so much more to report than the minute-30 I’m given within our local newscast.

My report:
http://www.katu.com/news/local/124465354.html

I watched today as Lucas Ebert, just 21 years old, faced a judge on charges of theft and criminal mistreatment. He’s accused of tricking a Beaverton woman into thinking he was plastic surgeon at OHSU who could do the gastric bypass surgery she’s desperately been wanting for years.

I watched as he tried to control the situation from the Inverness Jail. Sometimes defendants appear on video from the jail, as was the case today. He seemed keenly aware of the media presence in the room, and made it a priority to ask the judge, former U.S. Attorney Karin Immergut, to remove the pool camera there to record the proceeding.

That’s a moment in which, as a video journalist, your stomach turns. You kinda need that video to make a television news story happen. Luckily, in this case, Judge Immergut told him the unique circumstances that call for the removal of a camera didn’t seem to apply.

I noted with interest that the attorney Ebert retained was Russell Barnett, not present. See, Barnett was busy across the street in the Multnomah County Courthouse, defending Brian Cole against murder in the death of his wife, Mallory. A conversation he had with our reporter covering the Cole case confirmed his representation of Ebert, but Barnett refused to discuss finances. He also said, “There are some charges against clients like Mr. Ebert that you don’t accept a check for.”

It’s fascinating to go digging into someone’s recent past and discover their missteps.

As I talked with employees of the Carr Chevrolet in Beaverton, I learned the details of their encounter with this Luke Ebert. The sales manager, Scott Chauvet, tells me Ebert’s mother got hurt in the front of their store last year, an accident that broke her ankle. She wound up buying a car from them.

Chauvet says Ebert showed up a month ago, telling them his mom was back in the hospital after a bad car accident that broke the same ankle and she needed a new car. He says Ebert picked out a used car, a Cadillac SUV, and left saying he wanted to discuss it with his mom. Chauvet claims Ebert wanted to write one his own checks to the dealership and transfer money from her account to his.

The dealership’s efforts to verify this information Ebert’s mother fell through. They eventually learned from the bank the account didn’t exist. The original check was for $39,000. Chauvet says Ebert showed up with another check, this time from his mother’s bank account bearing her signature. He wrote that check for $42,000 — this time including as part of the deal an extended warranty for the SUV.

Chauvet says they sent a sales person to the address, who had Lucas Ebert on the phone as he drove to the house, with Ebert telling him was at his job as a surgical tech assisting with operations.

As the sales associate pulled up to the house, Chauvet says Lucas pulled past him and didn’t see him.

When they finally got ahold of his mother, at her job, she was shocked to learn what her son had pulled off. She was in good health, not in the hospital. When she’d kicked her son out of her house the week before, she told Carr Chevrolet, she’s given him a signed check to pay for a week’s worth of motel rent.

According to Chauvet, Ebert told the dealership’s sales associates he was in school to become a doctor, and was assisting with cosmetic surgeries. Also that he was frequenting strip bars. If that’s true, one has to wonder what sort of “services” he was offering strippers?

Appropriate, I suppose, that one of Ebert’s favorite TV shows according to his Facebook page is “Nip and Tuck.”

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In Court With Mother Accused of Murder

Kristina Buckley in court

It’s something I’ll never understand.

How do parents kill their kids? It goes against nature.

As I watched Kristina Buckley plead not guilty yesterday in the murder of her 11-year old daughter, Cecilia, I reflected on all the family killers I have covered in my KATU career.

There was Eddie Morris — we called him Crazy Eddie. I remember driving out to the logging road in Tillamook County where Morris shot and stabbed his wife and three children, and feeling haunted by the horrific scene that had played out there.

There was Christian Longo, the shunned Jehovah’s Witness who drowned his two kids in Alsea Bay along the Oregon Coast, and strangled his wife and baby, stuffing them into a suitcase and depositing it into waters off Newport. That was early in my career. I still have the video of my breathless report, as I broke in with news of the divers searching the waters near the Embarcadero resort, and recovering the suitcase. At 24, I was shaking as I described the scene to our viewers.

What a weird business I”m in — conveying to an audience the actions of the best and worst among us. You come closer than others to people convicted of the most heinous crimes. You sit just feet away from them in a courtroom, studying their expressions. You talk with them on the phone as they sit on death row. You retrace their steps.

It’s a visceral experience, witnessing the dark side of humanity in this way.

Just another day on the job, I guess.