For most of us, work isn’t too risky of a place. Unless you’re in the military or in law enforcement, you can wake up in the morning pretty certain that you won’t have to risk your life over the course of the day.
But when one man was interrupted during his workday, he would find out that no occupation is completely safe…
With a Patient
Dr. Weiss was in an appointment with a patient on the 12th floor of his midtown Manhattan high-rise when there was a knock at the door. When the psychiatrist opened it, he saw Jacob the cousin of his ex-girlfriend Pamela, standing there with a duffel bag. Thinking it was a little unusual, Dr. Weiss told Jake he would have to wait a few minutes while he finished up with his patient.
Here for the Paperwork
After the patient left, Jake told Dr. Weiss that Pamela had sent him to pick up some financial forms regarding Calder, Dr. Weiss and Pamela’s son. While Dr. Weiss was getting the papers in order, Jake went to use his bathroom. When he came out of the bathroom, he was holding a sledgehammer in his hands…
Out of the Blue
Without warning, Jake rushed Dr. Weiss and took a swing with the sledgehammer aimed directly at his head. Dr. Weiss managed to barely duck his head out of the way, causing the heavy hammer to slam into his shoulder. That’s when Jake took a knife out of his pocket.
Fight for your Life
“That’s when I first stabbed Michael Weiss. And then from there on out, it was just– it was a fight,” said Jake. He stabbed Dr. Weiss several times in the arms and torso but the 6’3, 205lb Weiss wasn’t going down without a fight. He managed to overpower Jake, a much smaller man, and turn the knife on him, stabbing him in the chest…
Blood Soaked Selfie
In the course of the fight, both men ended up sprawled out and bleeding on the floor in the hallway outside Dr. Weiss’ office. The other tenants in the building couldn’t help but overhear the commotion and cries of pain and they called 911. As first responders made their way to the scene, Jake took selfies of himself, his shirt drenched in Dr. Weiss’ and his own blood.
Why had Jake so brutally attacked Dr. Weiss without warning? If you were to ask his parents, they would have told you that, though he was a troubled young man, he was the sweetest kid in the world. His troubles began when at the age of 5, he was diagnosed with ADHD. Then, as a young teen, that diagnosis expanded to include depression and anxiety and, after a suicide attempt at 17, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder…
Depending on Family
Bipolar disorder is a severe mental illness characterized by severe mood swings, from incredible elation to deep, dark depression, as well as grandiose ideas and poor judgment. It was because of his serious afflictions that Jake had moved in part-time with his cousin Pamela. Like Michael Weiss, Dr. Pamela Buchbinder was a psychiatrist as well.
Pamela had offered to take care of and treat her cousin in her Manhattan apartment in exchange for his help in caring for her son, Calder. Jake was pleased with the situation, saying “Pamela and I had formed a relationship when I was really young. This is my cousin. This is someone I really knew. And I entrust everything into this one woman. I mean, this woman is gonna save my life.”…
From the outside, it seemed as if the arrangement was working well. “I thought he was very happy. And I thought he was quite stable,” said Debbie Nolan, Jake’s mother. What she couldn’t have known was the weird treatment and unusual relationship Pamela was developing with her son.
Living part-time with your psychiatrist is already an unusual circumstance. Add to it that it’s your cousin and it can get even weirder. But weirdest of all, Dr. Buchbinder seemed to be cultivating a highly inappropriate relationship with Jake…
Dr. Buchbinder would call Jake “Lovey” or “Sweet J.” When they weren’t together, she would send him texts saying things like “You’re just the most fun person to love!” and “You’re so beautiful,” the kinds of things you would send to your significant other, not your cousin or your patient.
They would sometimes even lie in bed together. “I guess that just goes to show you the level of comfort that I really felt there,” Jake said. “It was not unusual in the morning … for her to invite me into bed … with Calder and I, and to share that familiar moment, you know, really feel like a family together.”…
Poison In His Ear
As Dr. Buchbinder was creating her unnerving relationship with Jake, she was also filling his mind with terrible ideas about the father of her child, Dr. Weiss. “She had me convinced … that he was being molested at his father’s home,” said Jake. Although there was never any evidence of it, Jake said Dr. Buchbinder would tell him every day about Dr. Weiss’ abuse.
The relationship between Buchbinder and Weiss was bitter to say the least. Before they’d split for good, there were near-constant arguments and even domestic violence on both sides. Weiss had been arrested for threatening and attempted assault, and Buchbinder had been arrested for stabbing Weiss with broken glass…
Make It Hurt
Now, it seemed that Buchbinder had intentions to draw Jake into her war with Weiss. Jake says that by filling his head with ideas about Calder’s abuse, she pulled him into a plot to kill her ex. What’s more, she wanted to make him suffer. “Pamela was determined for me to, you know, torture Michael before killing him,” Jake said. “She wanted me to inject him with some, you know, poisonous chemicals,” he explained. “She wanted to burn him alive in front of a group of people.”
Just one day before Jake’s attack on Dr. Weiss, Dr. Buchbinder can be seen on camera in a Home Depot. She is paying in cash for the sledgehammer used as Jake stands right next to her. Jake said that Buchbinder packed his weapons in the bag for him, then gave him a map to Dr. Weiss’ building and sent him on his way to commit murder…
After their gruesome battle in Dr. Weiss’ office, both he and Jake were rushed to the hospital where they were successfully treated for their wounds. Jake was arrested, charged with attempted murder, and handcuffed to his hospital bed. His lawyers attempted a risky defense of his actions, pleading “diminished capacity.” They claimed that Dr. Buchbinder had used the mentally unstable man as an instrument of murder to kill her ex.
2 Member Cult
“It’s very much like a cult where there is a shaping of the person’s thought processes to meet the cult’s ideals,” said a psychiatrist called by the defense. “It’s a small cult. It has two people in it. There’s the cult leader, Pamela Buchbinder, and the cult member, Jake Nolan.” Unfortunately for Jake, the jury didn’t buy their explanation and he was found guilty and sentenced to 9-and-a-half years in prison. But that wasn’t the end of the story…
At the same time of Jake’s trial, Dr. Weiss sued Buchbinder for full custody of Calder, claiming she had been the mastermind behind the attack. The family court weighed the evidence, including the Home Depot footage, and believed it showed that Buchbinder had been responsible. Dr. Weiss was granted full custody of Calder.
Then, nearly 5 years after the attack the law caught up with Dr. Buchbinder. Three days before the attack, she demanded that Weiss make her the beneficiary of his $1.5 million life insurance. That, coupled with the Home Depot footage and Jake’s testimony was enough, prosecutors believed, to arrest Buchbinder. She was charged with second-degree attempted murder and first-degree attempted assault for masterminding the plot to have Jake kill Dr. Weiss.