Karen Colleen Stribel loves to talk about the beauty and serenity of her land in Watertown, Tenn., not far from Nashville. But this mother of two girls and computer consultant by trade got the shock of her life when a sheriff called her and told her about an audio tape that detectives had secretly recorded. On it was the voice of her 19-year-old daughter, Lauren Ashley Morrow, who was plotting to kill her.
Morrow was caught on tape talking to two young men — allegedly plotting Stribel's murder — in grisly detail.
"If you hit her with a shotgun, don't hit her in the face, please," Morrow said on tape.
To which, one of the young men responded, "Well, if there's a steering wheel blocking her chest, then her head's the only thing that's sticking over the top … They'll just have a closed casket."
"I was in total shock," Stribel said when she learned about the tapes. "No one writes the handbook on that one. No one."
Both Stribel and her daughter insist they were close in the early days, but there also were conflicts, like Morrow's smoking. "That was a problem I had. She started smoking at a younger age. And I was very sad about that one," Stribel said.
And there was more trouble. Morrow dropped out of school as a sophomore and began home-schooling. But it wasn't long before the home-schooling ended. Stribel "had some problems when it came to me not doing the home-schooling," Morrow said. "But we got over it."
Stribel believes their problems were the result of personality clashes. "I really felt that it was two strong people kind of buttin' heads. She was tryin' to grow up and be her, and I still wanted her to be mine."
Her defense team does not want Morrow to discuss the case itself because it's yet to go to trial. And although the two held hands in an interview with ABC News, their relationship has been tested before, as when Morrow got pregnant at 17.
When Morrow broke the news to her mother, Stribel said she would be there for her.
"She hesitated for a minute, and then when she looked at me, she said, 'I don't want you to worry; we'll take care of it. I don't want you to think I'm mad at you. I love you, and we'll be okay,'" Morrow remembered.
The father of the baby, and Morrow's boyfriend, was 24-year-old Andrew Bland. Stribel admitted there was friction between them. "I didn't feel that he had the sense of responsibility that I would have liked to see."
With tension at home, Morrow moved in with Bland. A few months later, their daughter Hailey was born. And now, the young parents are being accused of plotting to murder Stribel.
In a statement to police read by a detective in court, Bland had stated how it all started. "Morrow and her mom had got into a slight argument, and she came upstairs and said, 'Life would be better with my mom not around,'" the detective was quoted as saying in court.
According to the statement, Morrow told Bland that her mom had a $2 million life insurance policy, and she was the sole beneficiary. Enter Josh Stubblefield, a new friend of Bland and Morrow's who was still in high school when they began to hang out.
Bland offered Stubblefield $100,000 to kill Stribel, according to statements made by both young men. The next day, at the Waffle House restaurant where Stubblefield worked, he told a customer he knew about the murder plan, and asked him if he knew where he could get a "throwaway" gun.