By Som Lisaius , KOLD NEWS 13
Watching him be taken away in handcuffs Friday as bulbs flashed and videotape rolled Kristin Pederson couldn't believe her eyes. This was the man she'd grown to know and love: a former flame--and now friend--making headlines for all the wrong reasons. For her own protection, Pederson asked us to conceal her face and voice. Though she did tell us this in an exclusive phone interview about Dr. Bradley Schwartz, the man charged with conspiring to kill his former partner, Dr. David Brian Stidham.
"The hardest part of this whole process in having to tell my children what Brad is being accused of," Pederson said. "The relationship that I have with Brad. Everybody knows about it. I almost feel like I'm a blood relative."
She met Dr. Schwartz four years ago when he treated her daughter for an eye condition. He was fabulous doctor, Pederson said, the best she'd ever seen. The two became intimate after Schwartz told Pederson he and his wife were separated. They weren't. Today, ironically, Pederson and Schwartz's now ex-wife are friends consoling each other over the news. In an odd sort of way, they've been through a lot together. In fact they both were there when Schwartz published an ad in a trade magazine searching for a partner.
"Dr. Stidham and his wife flew out here and they interviewed with brad and had dinner and obviously made the decision to move out here. And I remember when Brad wrote that ad. And I remember how excited he was that he found such a great guy."
But she says that relationship soured after Schwartz ran into trouble with drugs. As an aspiring young doctor who graduated from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, Schwartz moved to Arizona in the late 90's only to be indicted by a federal grand jury four years later. He reportedly wrote scripts to patients then turned around and use the drugs himself.
In 2003, he was placed on probation by the State Medical Board. Among those who testified about his drug addiction was Dr. David Brian Stidham. Later that year Schwartz went to rehab where he admitted he had a problem. While gone, many of Schwartz's patients went to Dr. Stidham. Even after he returned to work, many of those same patients chose not to come back.
As a result the relationship between the two doctors dissolved. On October 5th Dr. Stidham was stabbed to death while leaving his northside practice. Ten days later Dr. Schwartz was arrested and charged with Conspiracy to Murder.
"He was trying to get his reputation back...with his patients with the community," Pederson said. "It was something i really believed he was striving for and achieving. I'm not sure what to believe anymore."