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Former Motown Sound Engineer Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder Plot

May 17, 1996

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) _ A jury spared a former Motown sound engineer from the death penalty for hiring a hit man to kill his ex-wife, their disabled son and the boy’s nurse to get at the son’s $1.7 million trust fund.

Lawrence T. Horn sat passively Thursday as the jury forewoman read the sentencing verdict: life in prison without parole.

Horn’s daughter Tiffani, 21, wept after the verdict was read. She wanted him sentenced to death, just like the hit man.

``I hate you,″ she told her father. ``I hate you. I hate you so much. You killed my family.″ Horn removed his glasses, wiped away tears and shook his head in response.

Two weeks ago, the jury found Horn, 56, guilty of first-degree murder and murder conspiracy for hiring the man who killed Mildred Horn, 43; son Trevor, 8; and nurse Janice Saunders, 38, in Mrs. Horn’s Silver Spring home in March 1993.

The boy, who was bedridden and unable to breathe on his own because of a hospital error when he was a baby, suffocated after his breathing tube was blocked and oxygen apparatus disconnected. The women were shot.

Prosecutors said Horn wanted to inherit the boy’s $1.7 million trust fund, which had been set up with the settlement of a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The hit man, James Edward Perry, was convicted last year and sentenced to death.

Jurors in Horn’s case said they opted against the death penalty because of testimony that Horn has useful skills and had been kind to some family members, and because a death sentence could adversely affect his two surviving children.

``The number of people that were already hurt was tremendous,″ said juror Julius Breczinski said. ``I didn’t feel that the death penalty would assuage all those people. I felt it would add pain to a lot of them.″

Tiffani Horn disagreed, saying she thinks her father ``should be on death row.″ Prosecutors had said that Horn made sure that she and his other daughter were out of the house when the killings took place.

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