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Woman Hired Hit Man on Internet

October 2, 1997

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ A woman who used the Internet to hire a hit man to kill her ex-husband has been given 10 years’ probation after pleading guilty to solicitation of capital murder.

State District Judge Sid Harle sentenced Andrea Lynn Vickery, 34, on Tuesday to 10 years’ deferred adjudication, fined her $10,000 and ordered her to perform 1,000 hours of community service.

The judge also ordered that Ms. Vickery’s parental visits to her children be supervised.

Michael Vickery, her ex-husband, said they were married in March 1989. They divorced in 1995, he said, because she was spending up to 16 hours a day on-line on the computer.

She initially received custody of their daughter after the divorce, but lost custody to her husband in August 1996.

Two months later, according to court records, Ms. Vickery went online looking for someone to kill her ex-husband so she could regain custody of their 6-year-old daughter.

Robert E. Lee Smith Jr., 44, a military retiree attending the University of Texas at Austin, told authorities he was intrigued by a conversation he ``overheard″ involving Ms. Vickery in a chat room on the Internet.

Ms. Vickery said she was looking for someone to kill her ex-husband, Smith said.

``At first I thought the message was humorous,″ he said.

After chatting with Ms. Vickery himself and exchanging several computer messages, they arranged to meet in November of last year at a San Antonio motel, he said. At the time, Ms. Vickery was eight months’ pregnant, he said.

She offered him $4,000, of which $1,000 was to be paid before the murder and the rest after the job was done, he said.

The woman gave him a picture of her ex-husband and a diagram of the layout of his home in Sugar Land, a Houston suburb, Smith said. The woman also gave him a credit card with her access code so he could draw the $1,000 down payment, he said.

He thought the whole thing was a joke until she gave him the credit card, Smith said.

On his way back to Austin, Smith said, he stopped in San Marcos to see if the card and access code worked. He withdrew $200 from the credit card account.

Later, he withdrew an additional $800 cash advance on the card to make a payment on his own credit card, Smith told police.

Smith said his wife found the credit card and the envelope Ms. Vickery gave him along with the diagram. When his wife accused him of having an extramarital affair, Smith said, he told her of the murder-for-hire plot.

Smith said he then called Ms. Vickery at work and told him of the murder plot and also called Ms. Vickery and told her he was going to the police.

Police became involved in the case on Dec. 2, 1996.

Smith was not charged in the case.

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