Woman Found Guilty of Trying To Solicit Murder of Husband
GALLATIN, Tenn. (AP) _ A woman who said she only wanted to stop her husband’s womanizing has been convicted of trying to have him killed, although the man escaped when a trunk in which he was stuffed bounced out of his kidnappers’ speeding car.
Nalini Chikkannaiah, 44, was found guilty Thursday of solicitation to commit first-degree murder by hiring two men to kill her husband, Dr. S.G. Chikkannaiah, 49, a physician.
Mrs. Chikkannaiah’s lawyer argued that his client, a native of India, was a frightened foreigner who was trying to save her marriage by hiring the men to run her husband’s lover out of town.
Chikkannaiah, who refused to press charges and accompanied his wife to court throughout the four-day trial, said he has never believed his wife was involved in the kidnapping.
But the Sumner County jury, which delivered its guilty verdict Thursday, apparently believed prosecutors’ contention that Mrs. Chikkannaiah had contacted Joe Moran and Leslie Huddleston and asked them to kill her husband. Moran, 41, and Huddleston, 42, pleaded guilty last year to kidnapping Chikkannaiah and were sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Mrs. Chikkannaiah, who remains free on $150,000 bond, faces up to 32 years in prison. No sentencing date was set.
Chikkannaiah was abducted Nov. 22, 1983, from the couple’s Hendersonville home, tied up and placed in the trunk of his car. He managed to escape by prying open the trunk and bouncing out of the car as his captors drove away.
Defense lawyer Cecil Branstetter said Mrs. Chikkannaiah’s religious training viewed divorce as ″the end of life itself,″ and the woman testified that she hired the men only to break up her husband’s affair with an office employee.
″In no way at all did I want him harmed,″ she said. ″I wanted a divorce, but I didn’t want him dead.
″Every time I came home I would find drink glasses with lipstick marks, cigarette butts in the ashtray, a ring around the bathtub and ladies’ undergarments in the bedroom,″ she said.
But Moran testified that while Mrs. Chikkannaiah was unaware of the kidnapping plot, she had asked him in a series of meetings ″what would I charge to kill the doctor.″
Chikkannaiah, who was not called to testify, said after the trial that he was ″very surprised″ at the verdict. ″I don’t think she is guilty,″ he said.