An Idaho reservations assistant faces charges after she allegedly duped a former Olympic speed skater in a romance and made the beneficiary of his will as he battled a fatal case of mad cow disease.
Olympian Boris Leikin of Utah died on July 6, 2021 at the age of 68 from a rare disease, 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 starting dating the prison guard at Idaho Marina Billings, 49, whom he met online on a Russian expat discussion board.
Billings moved into his Cottonwood Heights home and Leikin fell ill and was hospitalized, according to court documents obtained by ABC 4.
The assistant reportedly told neighbors that she was looking after the skater and managing his finances while he was hospitalized. After his release, she acted as a guardian, isolated him from others as his condition deteriorated, and forced him to sign an amended version of his will despite appearing “incapable”.
Billings and her husband, Robert Billings, 70, have been charged with financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and aggravated abuse of a vulnerable adult.
Investigators are still trying to determine whether the married couple intentionally made Leiken ill, Fox 13 reported. It is not known how long he had suffered from Mad Cow Disease when he died.
Marina Billings (left) and her husband Robert have been charged with financial exploitation and aggravated abuse in connection with 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 couple met online.
His neighbors claim that he fell in love with her, despite being 20 years his junior, and did not know she was married.
Billings moved in with Leikin when he was, as the neighbors called it, the “image of health” and still competed in speed skating.
His health deteriorated rapidly after his arrival and he was hospitalized twice.
The correctional officer told Leikin’s neighbors that he had been diagnosed with Mad Cow Disease and that she would take care of him, while keeping his finances in check, while he battled the disease.
Court documents allege that Billings, claiming she was Leikin’s fiancée, restricted visitation during her hospitalizations.
Neighbors claim Leikin (pictured in 2005) portrayed “good health” when he started dating Billings and quickly fell ill after she moved in with him.
Neighbors allege Billings invited them to Leikin’s (pictured) as she adjusted her will to name her beneficiary and executor They claim that she forced him to sign the document when he was “visibly incapable”, noting that his hand was shaking and Billings was talking to him “like a dog.”
Hospital staff said the old man appeared “gravely neglected” and Billings “remained indifferent” to his condition.
Leikin’s neighbors emitted a similar sentiment, saying Billings once invited them to his home. Her husband, Robert, was present at the time.
Neighbors allege they saw Billings place a pen in Leikin’s hand and force him to sign an amended version of his will designating her as beneficiary and executor.
They claim he was “visibly incapable”, noting that his hand was shaking as Billings spoke “like a dog” to him.
Investigators later confirmed that Billings drafted Leikin’s New Will and, during a search of his Pocatello, Idaho home, discovered a a secret room in the basement containing copies of his will, power of attorney, medical records and more.
While Billings stayed at home, Leikin (pictured right) was hospitalized twice. Hospital staff said the old man appeared “gravely neglected” and Billings “remained indifferent” to his condition
During a search of Billings’ home in Pocatello, Idaho (pictured), police discovered a secret room in the basement containing copies of his will, power of attorney, medical records, and more.
Billings and Robert both face charges of financial exploitation and aggravated abuse.
Jeff Hall, deputy chief of the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, said the couple were not charged with murder because they did not directly cause Leikin’s death.
“In a murder charge, we would accuse someone of directly causing someone else’s death and doing so illegally,” he told Fox 13.
“In this case, the allegation is that these people created circumstances that compromised the health of a vulnerable adult, not necessarily that they directly caused death.”
Billings has also been placed on administrative leave from his duties in the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office while an internal investigation is underway.