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Justice News

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

Friday, September 23, 2016

Independence Woman Pleads Guilty to Murder-for-Hire Scheme

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Independence, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to using a telephone in the commission of a murder-for-hire scheme.


Teresa Owen, 62, of Independence, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Kays to the charge contained in a July 7, 2015, federal indictment. Owen has been in federal custody without bail since her arrest on June 18, 2015.


By pleading guilty today, Owen admitted that she had contact with two separate individuals via telephone and offered them money to kill a person identified in court documents as “B.H.” Owen spoke with an acquaintance and later with an undercover police officer to discuss (or arrange to meet to discuss) the murder of B.H.


Owen also admitted that she met with an undercover officer in Independence on June 10 and 11, 2015. During the meetings, Owen asked the undercover officer to kill B.H. and agreed to pay the undercover officer $700 for the murder of B.H. Owen used her phone to access Facebook photos of B.H. in order to identify B.H. to the undercover officer. She also provided written identification and location information for B.H., and made a payment of $200 to the undercover officer on June 11, 2015.


Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Owen will be sentenced to at least three years in federal prison without parole, up to four years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. 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 Alison D. Dunning. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department and the FBI.

Violent Crimes
Updated September 23, 2016