Bellaire attorney in court over murder-for-hire plot

February 7, 2011 10:55:29 AM PST
A Bellaire attorney accused in a failed murder-for-hire plot against his wife made his first court appearance Monday morning. His wife was again at his side, standing by her man, who says he did not try to have her killed. High-profile attorney Jeffrey Stern is charged with two counts of solicitation of capital murder. Stern entered a not guilty plea this morning. He walked into court hand-in-hand with his wife Yvonne Stern, the woman prosecutors say he tried to have killed.

Prosecutors say they can prove Yvonne Stern was the intended target of two attempts on her life at the hands of hitmen paid by 53-year-old Jeffrey Stern, and planned by his mistress. Investigators say there is evidence of a third attempt, but Jeffrey has only been charged in two cases.

The court documents read aloud sound like a soap opera plot. They include recorded conversations with Stern's mistress Michelle Gaiser, allegedly talking about wanting to have someone kill Yvonne. In April and again in May of 2010, hitmen shot at Yvonne.

In the first attempt, Yvonne opened the door of her Bellaire home, and was shot at, but not injured. In another attempt Yvonne Stern had moved to an apartment complex, where she was shot, this time sustaining a gunshot wound.

Those incidents say prosecutors are traceable to Jeffrey Stern. Gaiser faces one count of solicitation of capital murder. Three alleged hitmen have already pleaded guilty to their roles in this case.

But Yvonne Stern isn't leaving her husband's side. She was with him five days ago when he turned himself in, and all signs point to her remaining supportive of her spouse.

This morning, Yvonne Stern was asked why she was standing by her husband. Jeffrey Stern's lawyer, Paul Nugent, answered, saying Yvonne's "actions speak louder than words."

Jeffrey Stern's bond is set at $500,000 on each count. He will be in court again on March 9.

If convicted, he could get up to life in prison on each count.