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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Justice announced today that a Tennessee woman has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kill Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunny A.M. Koshy, the lead prosecutor in the trial of Parley Drew Hardman, a man who was convicted of trying to kill or maim his ex-wife.

Brenda L. Lampley, 53, of Franklin, Tennessee, entered the plea on May 18 before Chief Judge Robert L. Echols of the Middle District of Tennessee. Lampley faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

Hardman was previously convicted by a federal jury in Nashville for seeking to kill or maim his ex-wife. Koshy was the lead prosecutor in that trial, which ended on March 31, 2003, and he was assisted by Assistant United States Attorney S. Carran Daughtrey. Witnesses in that prosecution included Hardman’s ex-wife; Marvin Drake, also known as Marvin Droznek; and Joseph Lucas, also known as Joseph Roselli.

During the guilty plea yesterday, Trial Attorney Michael Taxay of the Department of Justice proffered to the Court that if the case against Lampley had proceeded to trial, the government would have proven the following facts: While Hardman was awaiting sentencing following his March 2003, conviction, he approached another inmate in the Metro Nashville Davidson County Criminal Justice Center (CJC) and requested assistance in contacting the Gambino crime family to hire a hit man to murder Koshy, Droznek, Roselli and Hardman’s ex-wife. This inmate cooperated with authorities, and arranged for Hardman to speak with an undercover FBI agent. Hardman spoke by phone with an undercover agent posing as a mafia “hit man” on Nov. 7, 2003, and they met in person at the CJC on Nov. 13, 2003. During the call and meeting, they discussed Hardman’s murder plan. Lampley, then Hardman’s girlfriend, conspired with Hardman in this plot. She met with the “hit man” on Nov. 13, 2003, in downtown Nashville, verifying certain aspects of the plot and paying the “hit man” $600 to cover his travel expenses. Lampley also gave the “hit man” a printout of a news story discussing Hardman’s first case, which included a picture of Droznek, one of the four victims of the plot to kill people involved in the trial.

Hardman and Lampley were arrested on Nov. 13, 2003, and indicted on Dec. 15, 2003. Hardman was charged with two counts of soliciting, and conspiring in, the murder of an officer or employee of the United States; five counts of soliciting, and conspiring in, the retaliation against federal witnesses; and one count of conspiracy to commit interstate stalking. Lampley was indicted on eight of the nine counts. In return for Lampley’s guilty plea yesterday to the charge of conspiracy to kill AUSA Koshy, the government has agreed to drop the remaining counts against her.

A trial date has not yet been set for Hardman, who is presently serving a 15-year sentence for his March 2003 conviction.

The prosecution leading to Lampley’s plea was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office. Since one of the victims of the second plot is a local federal prosecutor, the Office of the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee has been recused and the case is being handled by Michael Taxay and Michael P. Sullivan of the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

Hardman is presumed innocent of the pending charges until proven guilty.