Leon Jacob sentenced to life in prison in murder for hire trial

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A former Houston doctor will spend at least the next 30 years behind bars after being convicted in a murder for hire scheme to execute his ex-girlfriend and the ex-husband of his new girlfriend.

After just an hour of deliberation, a jury sentenced Leon Jacob to life in prison.

He didn't seem to show any outward change in emotion as the verdict was read.

His ex, who was one of the targets for execution, spoke briefly after the sentence was handed down.

"You manipulated me to leave my family and the life I had. I believe everything happens for a reason. While you sit in jail I hope you think of me, a girl that you called poor and uneducated. It's because of me you will be in prison for life," said Meghan Verikas, Jacob's ex-girlfriend.

Jacob's attorney argued for probation. He says they plan to appeal.

Prosecutors attempted to portray Jacob as a lying, cheating, physically abusive master-manipulator who would do whatever he had to, to get his way.

His own words again are being used against him.

"I told dad I want Bradley Cooper to play me in the TV movie," Jacob told his mother in one of a series of phone calls recorded while he was in custody at the Harris County Jail.

In another call, he told his mother how he had been talking to former ABC13 reporter Kaitlin McCulley about getting her to possibly write a screenplay or book.

Jacob said McCulley approached him honestly about telling his story. She had the first on-camera interviews with Jacob following his arrest on solicitation of capital murder charges.

He told his mother why he talked to McCulley.

"Look her up. She's cute. She looks like Valerie did when she was younger. She's really hot actually. I know my wife's dead and I have to mourn her, but this one is cute," said Jacob.

Jacob was referencing the death of Valerie McDaniel, his girlfriend who committed suicide within days of their arrests. The couple was accused of solicitation of capital murder.

Jacob was found guilty of paying an undercover police officer who he believed to be a hit man over $20,000 in cash and jewelry to kill his ex and McDaniel's

"I just can't believe I was there," Verikas said.

She was targeted in Jacob's murder for hire plot and testified how he one time assaulted her, putting his hand over her mouth so hard you could see bruising. She says he harassed her so much after she broke up with him that she still has emotional issues.

"I have no sense of trust," she said.

Jacob's ex-wife also testified how he physically attacked her one time while she was pregnant, kicking her in the stomach, telling her he would kill her.

"He said nobody would ever find my body," said Annie Morrison.

The defense attempted to convince the jury that Jacob could abide by conditions of probation if the jury might grant it.
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