Couple accused of hiring hit man to kill exes

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HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston veterinarian and her boyfriend are accused of trying to hire an undercover police officer posing as a hit man to kill their former partners.

A judge on Monday set bail at $50,000 for 48-year-old Valerie Busick McDaniel, who doesn’t have a criminal history. He denied bail for 39-year-old Leon Philip Jacob, who was already on bail, charged with stalking and assaulting his ex-girlfriend, when he and McDaniel were arrested Friday.

Both remained in jail Monday and face up to life in prison, if convicted. Jail and court records don’t list an attorney for Jacob. McDaniel’s attorney didn’t immediately reply to a message seeking comment.

The couple are charged with solicitation of capital murder. Prosecutors say McDaniel wanted her ex-husband killed, while Jacob sought to have his ex-girlfriend kidnapped and later killed to prevent her from testifying against him in the assault case.

Prosecutors said that investigators with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Special Crimes Bureau first learned that Jacob was seeking to have his ex-girlfriend killed. Investigators determined that he had agreed to pay a man $10,000 to orchestrate the attack, and the man later agreed to cooperate with the authorities, prosecutors said.

The man and an undercover officer posing as a hit man met with Jacob to discuss details of the plot. During the meeting, McDaniel arrived and asked the undercover officer to kill her husband. She agreed to pay him $10,000 as part of an installment payment toward that hit.

Prosecutors said the plan was to shoot him and make it look like a carjacking.

After that meeting, prosecutors said that both would-be victims were notified of the plots against them. They agreed to cooperate with authorities and helped them stage murder and kidnap scenes that were photographed as proof the attacks were carried out.

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