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Iowa man admits to plotting ex-wife’s lover’s death, walks

June 7, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A central Iowa man who admitted to plotting the killing of his ex-wife’s lover walked free following a plea hearing this week.

Vernon Huser, 72, pleaded guilty on Thursday to voluntary manslaughter and the solicitation of Lance Morningstar’s death in 2004, the Des Moines Register reported . District Judge Jeffrey Farrell sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

Huser, a former business owner, was convicted twice of first-degree murder in the killing and was granted a new trial in both instances.

On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to the reduced charges, admitting for the first time that he recruited Louis Woolheater to fatally shoot Morningstar. Woolheater, 53, was sentenced to life in prison in the killing.

Huser was released after his sentencing because of time served for his earlier convictions in the same crime, his attorney Alfredo Parrish said.

He was also ordered to pay at least $150,000 in restitution.

Huser said that he believed his then-wife had an affair with Morningstar.

“I was seriously provoked and angered by the knowledge of my wife’s infidelity,” Huser said in court.

Huser had maintained his innocence until this latest hearing, and Morningstar’s family expressed satisfaction in hearing his guilty plea at last. But they were frustrated with the sentence.

“Vernon did not serve the time in prison that he deserved, so a painful death is certainly appropriate,” said Laura Morningstar, the victim’s youngest sister.

Morningstar’s niece also expressed her pain.

“This is over for (Huser) only,” Sarah Ellsworth said. “We live with this the rest of our lives.”

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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