Husband and Wife Receive Life Sentences for Contract Murder
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 22, 2012|
TAMPA—U.S. District Judge Stephen D. Merryday today sentenced Cristie Fay Bottorff (34, Brandon) and Jerry Alan Bottorff (42, Brandon) to three concurrent terms of life in federal prison for the contract murder of Cristie Bottorff’s former husband, Thomas Lee Sehorne, of Lithia, Florida. As part of their sentence, the court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $1,043,517.99 against each defendant, representing life insurance policies paid after the death of Sehorne.
The Bottorffs, Mike Garcia, and Luis Lopez were each charged in a three-count indictment with the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting the carrying of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence resulting in death.
According to court documents, on the morning of June 7, 2007, Thomas Lee Sehorne was found shot to death outside his home in Eastern Hillsborough County. Later that day, his widow, Cristie Fay Sehorne, and their two minor children moved in with Jerry Bottorff. Soon thereafter, Cristie Fay Sehorne began to attempt to collect on Thomas Sehorne’s life insurance policies. A settlement was ultimately reached regarding the insurance proceeds, and Cristie Sehorne and Jerry Bottorff were married in December 2008.
On May 23, 2011, the Bottorffs were arrested. They pleaded guilty to all charges on July 9, 2012, and later testified against the hit man, Luis Angel Lopez. Both testified that they solicited a friend, Mike Garcia, to find someone to murder Thomas Sehorne, with a promise to pay $60,000.00 once they obtained the life insurance proceeds.
Michael Garcia was arrested in 2008 and immediately cooperated with law enforcement authorities. His sentencing is scheduled for October 29, 2012. Luis Angel Lopez was convicted on August 3, 2012, after a jury trial. He is scheduled for sentencing on December 14, 2012.
This case was investigated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney’s Walter E. Furr and Thomas Palermo.