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Manhattan Psychiatrist Bought Sledgehammer For Cousin to Kill Ex, DA Says

By Ben Fractenberg | October 20, 2017 6:36pm | Updated on October 22, 2017 9:06pm
 Pamela Buchbinder is led out of New York Supreme court after being indicted on charges of manipulating her cousin into attacking the father of her child with a sledgehammer, Oct. 20, 2017.
Pamela Buchbinder is led out of New York Supreme court after being indicted on charges of manipulating her cousin into attacking the father of her child with a sledgehammer, Oct. 20, 2017.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

CIVIC CENTER — A Manhattan psychiatrist was indicted on attempted murder charges nearly five years after she bought a sledgehammer for her bipolar cousin to attack the father of her son in the victim's Midtown apartment, prosecutors said during her arraignment Friday.

Dr. Pamela Buchbinder was charged with steering her cousin, Jacob Nolan, 25, into trying to kill fellow psychiatrist Dr. Michael Weiss in 2012 inside his West 57th Street home office after a dispute over custody of Buchbinder and Weiss's then 6-year-old son, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

“This defendant is charged with orchestrating each step of a brutal attack on the father of her child,”  District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.

“From purchasing the sledgehammer used to strike the victim, to drawing a map depicting the easiest entrance to his home office, Pamela Buchbinder is alleged to have played an integral role in this vicious assault — which, were it not for concerned neighbors and responding NYPD officers, could easily have turned fatal.” 

Buchbinder wore a striped shirt, brown field jacket and jeans as she was walked into New York Supreme Court in handcuffs Friday. 

BuchbinderDNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

A gaunt-looking Buchbinder began to cry after her defense attorney talked about her son and refuted allegations she bought the sledgehammer to kill Weiss.

Assistant District Attorney Joel Seidemann said Buchbinder had a "mountainful of motive," including the custody battle and $1.5 million shared custodial life insurance policy. 

Nolan, who lived on Long Island at the time, was arrested after the attack and sentenced to more than nine years in prison. 

Weiss advocated for the young man during his trial and said he did not wish to see him punished during his sentencing, the New York Post reported. 

Buchbinder's lawyers questioned why it took nearly five years to charge her since prosecutors had video of her purchasing the sledgehammer after the attack.

Buchbinder SledgehammerDefense Attorney Eric Franz holds a photo showing video of Pamela Buchbinder purchasing a sledgehammer prosecutors said she gave to her cousin to kill the father of her child. (DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg)

They also questioned why she was arrested at a friend's place in Syracuse without being given the opportunity to turn herself in, paraded in front of cameras and then described as a flight risk. 

"She had five years to move to Mexico. Why do they have to do this?" her lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, shouted to reporters in an emotional voice after the hearing. "Cy Vance should be ashamed." 

Judge Thomas Farber ordered Buchbinder held without bail. She is due back in court on Nov. 14.