Man convicted in bizarre murder plot

March 23, 2009 2:49:24 PM PDT
A federal jury has convicted a South Texas man of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder-for-hire for his jailhouse plan to kidnap a waitress who owed him money and to assassinate the federal judge who sent him to prison. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Joel Lopez Sr., who was convicted Monday, offered to pay a fellow inmate $2 million in June 2007 to kill U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa in McAllen and $1 million to kidnap and ransom a woman who allegedly owed him a drug debt. The inmate alerted authorities.

Lopez's wife, Aracely Gonzalez, pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to commit kidnapping for her involvement in the case.

Lopez is already serving a life sentence for a 2006 drug conviction. Lopez and Gonzalez are scheduled to be sentenced this summer.

      Headline check | 100 most recent local stories | News alerts
            Slideshow archive | ABC13 wireless | Help solve crimes