Man Gets Three Years In Murder Hire Try

April 30, 2009|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,

The owner of a Harford County plumbing company was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison for offering to pay a worker at a job site $20,000 to beat and kill his wife, angering the victim who walked out of the courtroom crying and in fear of her life.

"I'll be dead by the end of the year," said Amanda Thompson as she stepped into the courthouse hallway.

Relatives circled around Thompson, hugging her while sharing her outrage.

"Michael Vick got more time for killing dogs," the victim's sister, Susan Watson, said. "I don't understand when a human life becomes less important than animals."

As part of a plea arrangement, Baltimore Circuit Judge Martin P. Welch Sr. imposed the sentence on George Thompson, 38, of the 1400 block of Shefford Road, over the objections of prosecutor David Grzechowiak, who sought a seven-year sentence. Welch said there were "reasons" why he settled on three years but did not explain them in court.

Welch described the plot, which began during a custody battle and divorce, as an "atypical domestic violence case," even though Thompson pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit murder.

Thompson approached the worker June 4 at a South Baltimore job site and then showed the man a large amount of money in his work truck, according to charging documents. Thompson also provided money for disposable cell phones so the pair could talk undetected.

But the worker promptly went to police, and agreed to wear a recording device during subsequent conversations with Thompson. He traveled from Tennessee this week to testify.

Upon his release, Thompson will serve five years of probation. If he violates probation, Welch could sentence him to up to 15 years in prison.

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