Idaho sheriff’s deputy is charged over death of elderly former Olympic speed skater

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An Idaho booking deputy faces charges after she allegedly duped a former Olympic speed skater into romance and making her the beneficiary on his will as he battled a fatal case of mad cow disease. 

Olympian Boris Leikin, of Utah, died on July 6, 2021 at age 68 after suffering from the rare illness, which is also known as CJD. 

However, those who knew the former speed skater said he took his health very seriously and was in good shape, but quickly fell ill after he started dating Idaho booking deputy Marina Billings, 49, whom he met online on a chat forum for Russian expats. 

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Billings, who emigrated to the US from Siberia in 2007, moved into his Cottonwood Heights home and Leikin became sick and was hospitalized, according to court documents obtained by ABC 4. 

The deputy reportedly told neighbors she was caring for the skater and managing his finances while he was hospitalized. After his release she acted as his caretaker, isolated him from others as his condition deteriorated and forced him to sign an amended version of his will despite appearing ‘incapacitated’.

Billings and her husband, Robert Billings, 70, have been accused of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and aggravated abuse of a vulnerable adult. 

Investigators are still trying to determine if the married couple intentionally got Leiken sick, Fox 13 reported, and contributed to his death. It is unclear when he was diagnosed with mad cow disease, a degenerative brain condition which can be caused by eating infected meat, and which always proves fatal for sufferers. 

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Marina Billings (pictured) and her husband Robert have been charged with financial exploitation and aggravated abuse in connection to the death of former Olympic skater Boris Leikin

Boris Leikin (pictured), of Utah, died on July 6, 2021 at age 68 after suffering from mad cow disease

Marina Billings (left) and her husband Robert have been charged with financial exploitation and aggravated abuse in connection to the death of former Olympic skater Boris Leikin (right)

Leikin, who was one of the oldest athletes to compete in the US Olympic Trials, started dating Billings after the pair met online. 

His neighbors claim he had fallen in love with her, despite the fact that she was 20 years his junior, and did not know she was married.

Billings moved in with Leikin when he was, as neighbors said, the ‘picture of health’ and still competing in speed skating competitions.

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His health quickly deteriorated after her arrival and he was hospitalized twice. 

The corrections officer told Leikin’s neighbors he had been diagnosed with mad cow disease and she would be caring for him, as well as controlling his finances, while he battled the ailment. 

Court documents allege Billings, claiming she was Leikin’s fiancée, restricted visitors during his hospitalizations. 

Neighbors claim Leikin (pictured in 2005) was the 'picture of good health' when he started dating Billings and that he quickly fell ill after she moved in with him

Neighbors claim Leikin (pictured in 2005) was the ‘picture of good health’ when he started dating Billings and that he quickly fell ill after she moved in with him

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The neighbors allege Billings invited them over to Leikin's home (pictured) while she was adjusting his will to name her beneficiary and executor. They claim she forced him to sign the document while 'visibly incapacitated,' noting that his hand was shaking a Billings spoke to him 'like a dog

The neighbors allege Billings invited them over to Leikin’s home (pictured) while she was adjusting his will to name her beneficiary and executor. They claim she forced him to sign the document while ‘visibly incapacitated,’ noting that his hand was shaking a Billings spoke to him ‘like a dog

Hospital staff claimed the elderly man appeared ‘severely neglected’ and that Billings ‘remained indifferent’ to his condition. 

Leikin’s neighbors issued a similar sentiment claiming Billings once invited them over to his home. Her husband, Robert, was present at the time.

The neighbors allege they watched Billings place a pen in Leikin’s hand and force him to sign an amended version of his will that named her as his beneficiary and executor. 

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They claim he was ‘visibly incapacitated,’ noting that his hand was shaking as Billings spoke to him ‘like a dog’. 

Investigators later confirmed that Billings drafted Leikin’s new will and, during a search of her Pocatello, Idaho home, discovered a a secret basement room containing copies of his will, power of attorney, medical records and more.

While Billings stayed at his home, Leikin (pictured on right) was hospitalized twice. Hospital staff claimed the elderly man appeared 'severely neglected' and that Billings 'remained indifferent' to his condition

While Billings stayed at his home, Leikin (pictured on right) was hospitalized twice. Hospital staff claimed the elderly man appeared ‘severely neglected’ and that Billings ‘remained indifferent’ to his condition

During a search of Billings' Pocatello, Idaho home (pictured), police discovered a secret basement room containing copies of his will, power of attorney, medical records and more

During a search of Billings’ Pocatello, Idaho home (pictured), police discovered a secret basement room containing copies of his will, power of attorney, medical records and more

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Billings and Robert both face charges of financial exploitation and aggravated abuse.  

Jeff Hall, chief deputy at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, said the couple is not being charged with murder because they did not directly cause Leikin’s death. 

‘In a murder charge, we would accuse someone of directly causing the death of someone else and doing that unlawfully,’ he told Fox 13. 

‘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.’  

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Billings was also been placed on administrative leave from her duties at the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office while an internal investigation is underway.

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