JEFFERSON, OH - An Ashtabula County woman was sentenced to nine years in prison Tuesday, for trying to arrange the murder of a woman she considered her rival.
Angel Brown, 36, asked for mercy before being sentenced on a charge of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder. The target of Brown's murder-for-hire-plot, was her late husband's ex-wife, Lisa Luke.
Ashtabula County Prosecutor Thomas Sartini told the judge, "She paid money to have somebody killed, and let's thank God that it never happened, because otherwise you'd be sentencing her for murder."
The seeds of the murder-for-hire-plot were planted in 2011, when a runaway Amish horse collided with a car driven by Angel Brown's husband. Daniel Brown, 45, was killed instantly, and a second man was killed when he swerved to avoid the debris in the road.
Investigators said Angel Brown was angered when she learned that she would have to share the proceeds of a lawsuit against the owner of the horse, with the three children her husband had when he was married to Lisa Luke. Police said that's when Brown decided to have Luke eliminated, and approached an ex-con about arranging her murder.
The would-be hit man, James Holley, accepted a down payment of $4,000 from Brown, and then went to the police, who got Holley to wear a hidden camera for a follow-up meeting with Brown.
A jury took just two hours to find Brown guilty on August 8th, after hearing all of the evidence. It included a phone call in which Brown told James Holley she wanted Luke’s body to disappear.
Tuesday, Angel Brown asked Judge Ronald Vettel for leniency, on the grounds that her nine-year-old son will have lost his father and his mother. She told the court, "Nobody knows what he's going through but me, because we both lost my husband. Nobody else knows how to deal with that."
The intended target of the plot, Lisa Luke, told Judge Vettel, that Angel Brown's crimes have had a profound impact on her life.
"From the day the detectives showed up at my door, and told me that a murder was planned upon me, my life has been terrible," said Lisa Luke. She said that she and her children have spent the past two years looking over their shoulders. "I didn't feel safe going anywhere, I went and got a CCW, so that I could carry a weapon, in case she tried to attack me again any other time."
Before sentencing Brown to the nine year term, Judge Vettel said that if the would-be hit man had not gone to police, Lisa Luke could very well have been murdered.Vettel told Brown, "How you could go so astray in this case is amazing to me, especially when you had the money to hire an attorney and fight these things in court."