A married Idaho corrections officer allegedly duped a former Olympic speed skater into a relationship in a twisted plot to become the beneficiary of his will — before contributing to his death, according to cops.
Marina Billings, 49, a corrections officer in Pocatello, Idaho, is accused of exploiting 68-year-old Boris Leikin in the financial scheme that also involved her husband, Robert Billings, 70, according to Fox 13 Now.
After meeting the former athlete online, Billings moved to Utah to live with him at his home in the Salt Lake City suburb of Cottonwood Heights, the news outlet reported. At least at first, Leikin was unaware she was married, cops told the station.
The seemingly healthy man’s health then soon began to decline and he was hospitalized, ABC 4 reported.
Billings told Leikin’s neighbors that she moved in to care for him and to control his finances during his hospitalization, according to the station.
But after he was released, Leikin was isolated from others and was hospitalized again when his health deteriorated a second time, ABC 4 said.
At the hospital, Billings restricted visitors and claimed she was his fiancée, according to the outlet, citing court documents. Hospital staff said Leikin appeared severely neglected, the report said.
His neighbors told the outlet that Billings invited them over one day and told them she was adjusting Leikin’s will, claiming he was suffering from a terminal case of mad cow disease, an incurable neurodegenerative disease of cattle.
The neighbors told ABC 4 that Billings’ husband was present when they arrived.
They said Marina placed a pen in Leikin’s shaking hand and forced him to sign the amended document while she spoke to him in a “peculiar” manner — “like a dog,” the outlet reported.
Leikin died on July 6, 2021.
During a search of Billings’ home, police found a secret basement where they recovered copies of Leikin’s will, power of attorney and medical records, ABC 4 reported.
Billings, a booking deputy at the Bannock County Jail, and her husband have been charged with financial exploitation and aggravated abuse.
Jeff Hall, the chief deputy at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, explained why they weren’t charged with murder.
“In a murder charge, we would accuse someone of directly causing the death of someone else and doing that unlawfully,” Hall told Fox 13 Now. “In this instance, the allegation is that these people created circumstances that compromised a vulnerable adult’s health, not necessarily that they directly caused a death.”
Investigators are still trying to determine if the couple intentionally got Leikin sick, Fox 13 said.
The Bannock County Sheriff’s Office said Billings has been placed on administrative leave while the county conducts an internal probe, the East Idaho News reported.
“The Bannock County Sheriff’s Office expects the highest professional conduct of its employees both on-and off-duty, which includes conformance to laws,” Bannock County Sheriff Tony Manu said in a statement.
“The Bannock County Sheriff’s Office is cooperating fully with the Utah investigation,” he added.
Leiken, who continued to skate well into his 60s, was reportedly one of the oldest athletes to compete in the US Olympic Trials. He was a Masters World Champion and set a Masters world record in 2006, Fox 13 Now reported.