Third suspect in murder for hire appears in court

June 17, 2010 1:59:17 PM PDT
The third suspect in an alleged murder-for-hire plot made an appearance in court on Thursday morning. Richard Gutierrez, 32, is charged with solicitation of capital murder. He turned himself in on Tuesday.

Court documents read in court today state that Gutierrez, a wrecker driver, wore a wire to record his conversation with Michelle Gaiser, the woman accused of hiring Gutierrez to kill her lover's wife. According to the documents, Gaiser not only wanted Gutierrez to kill Yvonne Stern, wife of prominent Houston attorney Jeffery Stern with whom police say she was having an affair, but also wanted him to kill his own brother, Adam Gutierrez, who allegedly failed to perform an initial hit on Yvonne Stern. They say Adam was trying to extort money from Gaiser over the hit.

After court today, prosecutors said Richard Gutierrez never really wanted to kill his brother, Adam, rather it was just part of the recorded conversations.

"My understanding, because of the conversation from the tapes, was that Adam is supposed to have done one of the hits on Yvonne, but didn't and instead extorted money from Michelle over it," said prosecutor Kari Allen.

Prosecutors say Gaiser offered Gutierrez $10,000 to kill Yvonne Stern. Instead, he got $3,000. He then recruited another alleged hitman in James Lowery, a tattoo artist, also with the promise of $10,000. Lowery was given a used car instead.

Lowery appeared in court on Wednesday where a judge denied bond and ordered him not to contact the victim or alleged co-conspirators.

Police are still looking for two others, including whoever succeeded in shooting and wounding Yvonne Stern on May 5. That was the third attempt on her life. She has been released from the hospital and is still recovering from her injuries.

Investigators say more arrests are expected.

Police still want to talk to Adam Gutierrez, but there are no charges pending against him.

Richard Gutierrez remains in jail on $100,000 bond.


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