Murder-for-hire trial begins for eye surgeon with connections to Vancouver Island

Opening statements began in the trial of Clearly Lasik co-founder Michael Mockovak, who is accused of hatching a murder-for-hire plot that targeted his partner Joseph King and former company president Brad Klock.

The Vancouver Sun
January 19, 2011

Murder-for-hire trial begins for eye surgeon with connections to Vancouver Island
Clearly Lasik chain includes clinic in Saanich
Seattle Times

Michael_Mockovak_Joseph_King.jpg

Dr. Michael Mockovak (left) is accused of plotting to kill his Clearly Lasik co-founder and his former brother-in-law Dr. Joseph King (right). Photograph by: Clearly Lasik website, .

Opening statements began in the trial of Clearly Lasik co-founder Michael Mockovak, who is accused of hatching a murder-for-hire plot that targeted his partner Joseph King and former company president Brad Klock.

Mockovak is charged with two counts of criminal solicitation to commit first-degree murder and three other charges, the Seattle Times reported.

King, 44, is the co-founder of Clearly Lasik, which operates at 3550 Saanich Rd., as well as at clinics in Vancouver, Edmonton, Seattle and Portland.

King County prosecutors allege Mockovak asked the computer tech at Clearly Lasik, a man who had immigrated to the U.S. from Russia, to help him hire a Russian Mafia hit man to kill King and Klock in 2009.

Mockovak, 53, was willing to pay $100,000 to arrange the killings, prosecutors said.

Authorities say Mockovak was angry at King for his apparent plans to split the company and was upset with Klock for suing the company for wrongful termination.

After the criminal charges were filed against Mockovak, King filed a lawsuit against his former partner.

The computer tech employee, Daniel Kultin, was hired as an FBI informant. He wore a "body wire" when talking to Mockovak.

Several of these recorded conversations were played Tuesday.

While King County senior deputy prosecutor Mary Barbosa said the tapes illustrate Mockovak's plan, defence attorney Colette Tvedt said the recordings show that her client was "induced" and "persuaded" by Kultin to develop the plan.

Tvedt said Kultin was ambitious to work for the FBI.

"This case started with an immature joke," Tvedt said in her opening statement.

"If it wasn't for Daniel Kultin and his ambitions … those words would have never turned into a crime."

If convicted, Mockovak faces about 20 years in prison.

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