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Mother, Daughter Sent to Prison in Failed Murder-for-Hire Plots

June 2, 1989

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A mother and daughter who independently solicited the murders of their estranged husbands for revenge and money were sentenced to state prison.

Superior Judge Andrew Wagner gave a nine-year term Thursday to Judith Lynette East, 45, and a six-year sentence to her daughter, Venise Lynette Morris, 28.

Both pleaded guilty in February to charges of soliciting an undercover police detective to kill their estranged husbands.

Victor Shuman, the detective who posed as the hired gun, said outside court that East promised him $10,000 from an insurance policy he believed to be worth $35,000. Morris gave him a $1,000 check and promised to pay him $4,000 more after collecting on a $10,000 policy, he said.

Morris told probation officers she wanted someone to kill her estranged husband, Michael, 41, because he was acquitted by a jury of molesting her 7- year-old daughter.

Michael Morris was tried several years ago for child abuse, but a jury deadlocked 11-1 for acquittal and the charges subsequently were dismissed, according to the probation report.

East reportedly wanted her 31-year-old estranged husband, Mark, killed because he had been unfaithful. She showed little emotion as the judge pronounced sentence.

Authorities have said that neither woman apparently knew the other was plotting to hire the same person to kill her husband.

Neither of the intended victims, whose divorces became final after the women were arrested in September, attended the sentencing.

Morris’ ex-husband has since moved out of California. East’s former husband is in the Navy and at sea.

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