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Courts cut ties with doctor married to murderer

Posted at 4:32 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 21:56:24-05

A forensic psychologist, who’s married to a convicted murderer, resigned this week from handling Maricopa County Superior Court cases after a pair of ABC15 reports.

Dr. Marta DeSoto sent an email to court officials Wednesday, saying she was “being forced to resign from her contracts.”

The email was obtained by ABC15 through a public records request. A spokesperson did not immediately respond to a question asking if DeSoto was asked to resign. 

Officials said DeSoto had been paid at least $70,000 by the court system in recent years to handle mental health evaluations for adult inmates and juveniles.

It’s the second significant taxpayer-funded contract for DeSoto uncovered by ABC15.

The State of Arizona also terminated a separate contract held by DeSoto to evaluate Department of Child Safety cases. In the state cases, DeSoto has made at least $400,000 in the past two fiscal years, officials said.

State officials said her cases are now under review.

The actions taken by the county and state come after ABC15 notified officials about DeSoto’s marriage to Jacob Wideman, a man who’s been incarcerated for nearly 30 years.

In recent years, DeSoto has repeatedly tried to assist Wideman in getting parole in order to get him released and moved into her home with her two children.

Before doing contract work, DeSoto was employed in Arizona’s prison system.

She began working for the corrections department in July 2003. Later that year, she began seeing Wideman as a patient in both group and individual sessions.

During this time, both deny the relationship was anything more than professional, records show.

In July 2006, DeSoto quits working for the DOC. Six months later, Wideman sends DeSoto a letter.

Wideman and DeSoto were engaged in May 2010. The two married in July 2013.

Since the marriage, DeSoto also brought her children to meet Wideman at least once. The visit occurred without the knowledge the children’s biological father and against his wishes, court records show.

When approached outside a parole hearing last week, DeSoto declined to comment on her marriage or the contracts.

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at dbiscobing@abc15.com.