Houston Woman Charged in Sister’s Murder-for-Hire Scheme
SPRINGFIELD, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Houston, Mo., woman has been charged in federal court with attempting to hire someone to murder her sister.
Leta Faye Douglas, of Houston, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mo., on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. Douglas remains in federal custody pending her detention hearing on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015.
Douglas allegedly asked her ex-husband to help her hire someone to kill her sister for $2,000.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaint, Douglas sent a letter asking for help to her ex-husband in Nebraska. They have been divorced for 18 years, the affidavit says, and have not maintained contact.
Douglas’s ex-husband called her, the affidavit says, and during their telephone conversation, she told him she needed him to help her “take care of” her sister. According to the affidavit, Douglas’s parents were in a home for the elderly and her sister was in charge of their finances. Douglas claimed her sister would not handle their parents’ finances correctly, the affidavit says, but her ex-husband believed that Douglas wanted to have access to her parent’s financial estate. Douglas told her ex-husband that she wanted her sister killed.
Douglas’s ex-husband initially told her that he did not want to help her. He believed she was serious, the affidavit says, so he reported the incident to the Nebraska State Patrol. Investigators then recorded a telephone call made to Douglas by her ex-husband on Jan. 27, 2015. During the telephone conversation, the affidavit says, he told her that he knew someone who would murder her sister. They allegedly agreed that Douglas would pay $2,000 after she received her tax return to have her sister killed.
On Feb. 2, 2015, Douglas allegedly called her ex-husband and told him she really wanted this done. Douglas allegedly told him that, if he took care of this, she would let him see his daughter (whom he has not had contact with in many years). He told Douglas to send him a picture of her sister and a map to her house, the affidavit says, which she did.
On Feb. 6, 2015, an undercover employee of the Missouri State Highway Patrol called Douglas and they arranged to meet at the Walmart in Houston. Douglas allegedly met with the undercover employee on Feb. 9, 2015, and they had a conversation while sitting in her vehicle. According to the affidavit, she gave the undercover employee a photograph of her sister and a hand-drawn map to her sister’s residence. She allegedly told him how to find her sister’s house and gave him a brief description of the interior layout of the house. Douglas told him that her sister’s husband would also be home and that they had two dogs inside the house, according to the affidavit. Douglas allegedly handed him an envelope that contained $2,000.
Dickinson cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Nebraska State Patrol.