'He thought he would get off': Juror sheds light on murder-for-hire conviction of former Houston doctor

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Murder-for-hire trial juror says Leon Jacob's own words did him in (KTRK)

One of the jurors who sent a former Houston doctor to prison for life as a result of the murder for hire plot he hatched says he deserves what he has received.

"He thought he would get off, that he could still manipulate the situation," said juror Thelma Ginsburg.

Ginsburg said she never bought the defense claim that Jacob never wanted to hurt anyone. She said the secretly recorded audio of Jacob made by the undercover police officer posing as a hitman proved Jacob was guilty.

He and well-known Montrose veterinarian, Valerie McDaniel, were arrested in 2017, accused of plotting the murders of their exes.

At trial, Jacob insisted he never wanted anyone killed and "preferred" no one was hurt, but Ginsburg notes he never tried to put a stop to it.

"When you say you prefer, it doesn't matter to you if the person dies or not," Ginsburg told Eyewitness News. "There was so much evidence against him that it was hard not to prove that he was guilty."

Prosecutors portrayed Jacob as a master manipulator, a womanizer whose life was unraveling. Evidence showed he paid over $20,000 in cash and jewelry to that undercover officer posing as a hitman.

"He thinks he's invincible and he thinks that everything is owed to him," said Ginsburg.

She said two of the jurors at first weren't sure if they should find Jacob guilty. It took less than an hour of deliberation for the 10 others to convince them. Ginsburg adds that probation was never really considered an option, particularly after Jacob's ex-wife testified how he kicked her when she was pregnant and held a knife to her throat.

Ginsburg says "life" was easier for them to agree on even more than guilt or innocence.

"We all thought he deserved it - the maximum amount because of all this, of terrorizing all these women," she said.

McDaniel killed herself shortly after the couple was arrested in the murder for hire plot.

Ginsburg said given the evidence she heard at trial she'd never have found McDaniel guilty. She feels McDaniel was just the last woman tragically manipulated by Jacob. She hopes other women who are in abusive relationships will see what happened in this case and get out of those relationships if they can.

Jacob can become eligible for parole only after serving 30 years. He said he would appeal his conviction.

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