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5446: Bigamist Double Life Shatters Family (fwd)
Sunday November 5 2:35 PM ET
Bigamist Double Life Shatters Family
By VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press Writer
BALDWIN HARBOR, N.Y. (AP) - Dr. Jean-Claude Dominique was living the
American dream - twice over, it turns out. The Haitian-born doctor
shared a waterfront Long Island home with his wife and two children.
When he wasn't there, he spent time in a New Jersey suburb with his
other wife and their two kids. Dominique's double life began unraveling
last year, when the 50-year-old doctor was killed in a hit-and-run
accident. The two widows met in a hospital emergency room, an encounter
that triggered a chain of events ending with an alleged murder attempt.
Wife No. 1 was shot last week outside her Long Island home by two
hitmen allegedly hired by her brother-in-law, Aly Dominique . He viewed
Wife No. 2 as the legitimate heir to Dominique's estate, authorities
said. ``Thank the Lord,'' Eliette Dominique said from her hospital bed
after the arrest of Aly Dominique. ``I knew it was him.''
She was released from the hospital Wednesday with pieces of .22-caliber
shrapnel lodged in her head and her right hand. Gunmen opened fire on
the 56-year-old widow as she left home for her job as an intensive care
nurse last Monday morning, police said. Struck three times, she crawled
back into the house and collapsed before her two teen children.
``It was murder for hire,'' says Charles Sloane, Eliette Dominique's
attorney. Aly Dominique, 44, was held on $500,000 bail on an attempted
murder charge. His lawyer, Gregory Watts, denied that Dominque was
involved. Dominique was not present at the time of the shooting.
The nightmare shooting ended a dream that started in the late 1970s,
when Eliette sponsored Jean-Claude Dominique's immigration from Haiti.
After he arrived, she paid his way through medical school.They were wed
in 1980, and shared a Brooklyn apartment. He landed a job at a hospital,
starting his ascent on the ladder to success.But two years later the
doctor secretly married his childhood sweetheart. Marie Betsy Barlabier
had followed him to the United States from their Haitian hometown of
St. Louis du Nord. Using a female impostor to pose as Eliette and forge
her signature, Dominique - unbeknownst to his first wife - secured an
uncontested divorce and married Marie. They set up house in Irvington,
N.J., where she raised their son and daughter. Eliette and her husband
continued to have ``a very normal marriage relationship,'' Sloane said.
``She had no inkling that there was anything more.'In the mid-1990s,
the doctor and his first wife moved to Nassau County's South Shore. He
was well-liked, tending to sick neighbors who enjoyed his affable
bedside manner. Dominique didn't make it home every night. On occasion,
he would tell Eliette that he was spending the night at their Brooklyn
condo rather than risk falling asleep on the drive to Long Island.
It was near the Brooklyn apartment, just before midnight on April 30,
1999, that his secret was exposed. A driver in a stolen car slammed into
the doctor, leaving him in a coma. Both Mrs. Dominiques arrived in the
emergency room of Kings County Hospital.
While their husband lingered for 39 days before dying, both wives
asserted that they were the legitimate spouse. Three months ago, a
Nassau County judge ruled in Eliette's favor because Marie's marriage
was based on the forged signature. But Aly Dominique, a high school
chemistry teacher, apparently sided with the 50-year-old Marie
because she grew up with the 23 Dominique siblings. Aly barred Eliette
from attending her husband's funeral and threatened her, her lawyer
said. And then, police charged, Aly Dominique promised two men about
$10,000 if they would kill her. Marvin Gedin, 20, of Maplewood, N.J.,
and Alexander Exama, 19, of Newark, allegedly botched the hit. Exama was
arrested when he allegedly got lost trying to flee the Dominique's
waterfront neighborhood. Gedin, a paroled robber, was arrested Thursday.