A Southern California PTA mom said Wednesday she feared she would be killed by a married couple who was convicted of planting drugs in her car after an elementary school spat several years ago.
In an appearance on Wednesday on the Dr. Phil show, Kelli Peters said she, her husband and daughter suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder years after Kent Wycliffe Easter and Jill Bjorkholm Easter were convicted of trying to frame her by planting drugs in her car.
"I cried every day," said Peters, who won a $5.7 million civil judgment in February in the case. "I couldn't understand why she was going after me with such full force. I just was so afraid of her."
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Jill Bjorkholm Easter, who changed her name to Ava Everheart, also appeared on Dr. Phil, the show by host Phil McGraw, the TV psychologist.
She denied planting drugs or coordinating the plot with her now ex-husband, even though she pleaded guilty to charges in the case and her DNA showed up on the prescription pills planted in Peters' car.
The spat dates back to 2010 when Jill Easter became angry at Peters over the way she was supervising her son at Plaza Vista School in Irvine, prosecutors said.
In retaliation, the Easters plotted to frame her for a crime, making cellphone calls and sending text messages to plant the drugs in her unlocked vehicle in February 2011, prosecutors said.
Peters was detained when police found a bag of marijuana in the back seat of her car, but officers started to doubt the drugs belonged to her, and the investigation led to the Easters, prosecutors said.
Jill Easter pleaded guilty to one felony count of false imprisonment by deceit and was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of formal probation, prosecutors said.
Kent Easter admitted to calling Irvine police, giving a fake name and phone number and tipping off police to the bogus story. After claiming innocence through his criminal trial, he admitted in the civil case that he was guilty of the crimes, the Orange County Weekly reported in February.
"You planted drugs in Kelli Peters' car and tried to get her arrested?" Peters' attorney Rob Marcereau asked.
"Very stupidly, and unfortunately, yes," Kent Easter replied.
He also admitted that Peters never did anything wrong, the Weekly reported.
Even though she felt vindicated after the civil award, Peters and her family are still shaken.
"I lost everything that I worked hard for," she said. "The whole thing sent us over the edge."