A New York City psychiatrist who pleaded guilty to plotting the murder-by-sledgehammer death of her child’s father was sentenced Tuesday to 11 years in state prison, but not before a dramatic moment in court in which Pamela Buchbinder tried to take back her plea, claiming she was maced by guards and got a contact high on the prison bus from people smoking K2.
The judge pressed ahead with sentencing and imposed the prearranged prison term of 11 years followed by five years of supervised release. Buchbinder has already served 5 years in prison.
Buchbinder, 52, admitted to burglary and attempted assault charges for manipulating her 19-year-old cousin, Jacob Nolan, to kill Michael Weiss at Weiss’s home office in November of 2012. The plot followed a custody battle over their then- 5-year-old child.
Weiss spoke in court before Buchbinder’s sentencing about his ongoing struggles.
“While I am grateful that this day has arrived, it has not brought me the sense of relief, or the feeling of closure that I had hoped it would. Although it has been almost 10 years since I was attacked, I still struggle with the emotional and physical scars of what happened to me on November 12, 2012,” Weiss said.
Buchbinder, who was a practicing psychiatrist, was called an evil genius in court, a label her attorney rejected.
“I don’t know her to be evil or a genius — just statements that were opportunistic,” defense attorney Eric Franz said.
Buchbinder accompanied Nolan to Home Depot on West 23rd Street the night before the November 2012, attack and paid cash for a 10-pound sledgehammer. Buchbinder also gave her cousin a kitchen knife to use in the attack.
Buchbinder drew a map for Nolan and instructed him how to enter Weiss’s building. Once inside, Nolan swung a sledgehammer repeatedly at Weiss and stabbed him repeatedly.
“I still find it difficult to understand how any of this could have happened, and I struggle to comprehend the type of hatred that would lead someone to plan such a deliberate, personal and brutal attack,” Weiss said.
In 2016, Nolan was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 9 ½ years in New York state prison.