Michelle Gaiser reaches plea deal; gets 20 years in murder-for-hire plot

Eyewitness News has learned that Michelle Gaiser, accused in murder-for-hire plot, will enter a guilty plea Friday morning

July 27, 2012 7:38:09 AM PDT
The alleged mastermind behind a Bellaire socialite's murder-for-hire plot pleaded guilty before a judge this morning.

Michelle Gaiser was on the 9am docket. She was charged with solicitation of capital murder andl pleaded guilty in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence.

Authorities say Gaiser was the mistress of prominent Bellaire attorney Jeffrey Stern and the woman who initiated the first murder-for-hire against Stern's wife, Yvonne Stern. Yvonne Stern survived three attempts on her life in 2010.

Yvonne Stern's attorney, Chip Lewis, says Yvonne will be in court today to give her victim impact statement. In a statement issued to Eyewitness News, Lewis says his client isn't happy by the plea deal.

"Mrs. Stern feels further victimized by Pat Lykos' crooked deal. ADA Kari Allen assured Mrs. Stern that she would not offer Gaiser anything less than 40 years in prison. Despite that promise, Lykos has again sold out to appease her longtime friend and ardent political supporter, James Stafford (Gaiser's attorney).

"Stafford strenuously and repeatedly objected to Jim Leitner's well-reasoned decision to dismiss the solicitation cases against Jeff Stern. Given the multitude of honest, veteran prosecutors ratifying Mr. Leitner's decision, Lykos could not overrule this decision, so she did the next best thing for Stafford - she threw him the bone of an unconscionable deal for his client.

"In court, Mrs. Stern will address the continued pain and suffering that this cold-blooded criminal has suffered upon her and her family. She will request that the Honorable Judge reject this crooked deal given Gaiser's multiple attempts on her life and Gaiser's habitual criminal acts."

Just two days ago, prosecutors decided to drop their case against Jeffrey Stern, who had also been charged with solicitation of capital murder in connection to the case. The Harris County District Attorney's Office said the available evidence was not sufficient to justify taking this case to trial.

Two other men involved in the plot have already pleaded guilty and are in prison. James Lowery pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to 15 years. Richard Gutierrez pleaded guilty to solicitation of capital murder and was also sentenced to 15 years.

The alleged gunman in one of the attempts -- Damian Flores -- had his first trial on attempted capital murder end in a mistrial, but he was sent to prison on an unrelated drug charge.

Stay with Eyewitness News and abc13.com for the latest details.


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