Wife pleads guilty to murder-for-hire plot

March 3, 2010 9:06:03 PM PST
A local man was able to address his own wife in court Wednesday minutes after she was sentenced for hiring a hit man to try to kill him. Catherine Shamp, 38, won't go to jail, but her husband David, who was the target of the plot, says he's glad. Even though Catherine Shamp was willing to pay $20,000 to have her husband killed, David Shamp says she just made really bad decisions. He's glad she's not going to prison and hopes she can get help.

Catherine Shamp never turned to look at her husband even though he was talking to her.

"I just want to say to her the pain she gave this family, not just me, her parents, my parents," said an emotional David.

That was part of David's victim's impact statement. It was short and sweet. Catherine's plea was too.

She pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to trying to hire her daughter's ex-boyfriend to kill her husband. Both she and her daughter Ashley, 18, were arrested last November accused of the same thing, but Ashley has since been cleared. Catherine faced up to 99 years in prison. This morning she got a gift with help from the husband she wanted dead.

"From the very beginning, he stated he did not want his wife, the mother of his children, to be put away," said Harris County Assistant District Attorney Kari Allen.

Catherine got five years deferred adjudication probation which means she won't spend any time in prison unless she messes up. For David, the whole ordeal has been an exercise in forgiveness.

"I have to because I'm raising three children and if I keep that anger bottled up inside of me, then I'm going to take that home and my children are going to feed off of that anger," David said.

That would have been easy. Ashley, at the time still in high school, experienced a 'perp walk' first-hand and the family lost their home and a car. But as they stood outside the courtroom Wednesday, David Shamp vowed to move on.

"We are strong and we're going to get over this. God is leading us. It's going to be a new future," he said.

David is currently divorcing his wife and Ashley wants to join the Navy. In addition to the probation, Catherine also has to perform 500 hours of community service, and she can't have contact with either her husband or their daughter. The couple also has nine-year-old twin boys.

If you're wondering about the deal, Andy Kahan, a crime victim's advocate, says it's a sweet one made possible, he believes, because her husband showed mercy and because she's a woman.


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