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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 4, 2016

Houston, MO, Woman Pleads Guilty to Sister's Murder for Hire

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Houston, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to hiring someone to murder her sister.

 

Leta Faye Douglas, 52, of Houston, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to the charge contained in a Feb. 24, 2015, federal indictment.

 

By pleading guilty today, Douglas admitted that she agreed to pay another person – who was actually an undercover law enforcement officer – $2,000 to murder her sister. Douglas must forfeit the $2,000 that she paid the undercover officer to the government.

 

According to court documents, Douglas sent a letter to her ex-husband in January 2015, asking for his help. Douglas’s ex-husband, who lives in Nebraska, has been divorced from her for about 18 years and has not maintained contact with her. When he called her in response to receiving the letter, Douglas told him that she wanted her sister killed. Douglas told her ex-husband that her parents were in a home for the elderly and that her sister was in charge of their finances. He believed that Douglas wanted to have access to her parents' financial estate.

 

Douglas’s ex-husband contacted law enforcement authorities. An undercover employee of the Missouri State Highway Patrol contacted Douglas and made arrangements to meet in the Walmart parking lot in Houston on Feb. 9, 2015. The undercover, who was wearing an audio recording device, approached Douglas’s vehicle and got into the front passenger’s seat. During the initial conversation, she provided the undercover with a photograph of her sister and a hand-drawn map to her sister’s residence.

 

The entire conversation between Douglas and the undercover was recorded. Douglas told the undercover that her sister’s husband would also be home and that they had two dogs inside the house. She handed him an envelope that contained $2,000.

 

Douglas was arrested at her residence a few days later.

 

Under federal statutes, Douglas is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

 

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 South Central Drug Task Force.

Updated January 4, 2016