The Houston woman who has confessed to hiring a hit man to murder her lover's wife testified at the alleged killer's trial that she gave him $15,000 in cash and told him where and when to gun down the woman.
Michelle Gaiser told the jury how she arranged to have Houston socialite Yvonne Stern murdered in her car while it was parked in the lot of her apartment building. The mistress of Yvonne Stern's husband, millionaire attorney Jeffrey Stern, spent the entire day on the stand, sobbing nearly the entire time.
"I made a horrible mistake, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel ashamed of what I have done," Gaiser, taking the stand in her jail jumpsuit, told the court.
Jeffrey Stern has been indicted on solicitation of capital murder charges, while five other people, including Gaiser, have been charged in the plot. Prosecutors are presenting a case that Gaier plotted with Jeffrey Stern to pay alleged hit man Damien Flores to shoot his wife.
Jeffrey Stern is denying this allegation, and his wife believes him.
"I love my husband. I believe in him wholeheartedly, of his innocence. He had nothing to do with this, and he could not do anything with this. We are victims of a fatal attraction," Yvonne Stern said.
Gaiser is the star witness in the trial against Flores, who is accused of shooting Yvonne Stern in the stomach as she sat in her Cadillac SUV in May of last year.
The tearful victim testified Monday she begged Flores for her life that day, but that he took a few steps away, turned around, and fired through the glass.
"He jumped out of his car and came charging at me with a gun. He had a pair of mirrored aviators. He didn't run. He walked and came charging at me," Stern said in her testimony about the gunman, according to ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston.
Flores' attorney told jurors Monday that Stern initially identified another man -- who had worked on the Sterns' home -- as her assailant. She later identified Flores from a line-up.
He was allegedly the third hit man hired to kill Yvonne Stern in four months.
Gaiser admitted to the jury she told Flores where Stern lived, what type of car she drove and when she would be alone. She said that she gave him Flores $15,000 in cash in an envelope as a down payment on the murder.
"He was supposed to go over and wait for Yvonne and do the job -- shoot Yvonne," Gaiser said.
In exchange for her dramatic testimony, Gaiser made a deal with prosecutors in which pleading guilty to solicitation of capital murder led to a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
Sam Cammack, Flores' defense attorney, maintains that Gaiser is "a liar and she's lying about Damien Flores."
Gaiser is also expected to testify against Jeffrey Stern when he stands trial in a few months.
Yvonne Stern had started divorce proceedings, citing adultery, but later changed her mind and reconciled with her husband.
On Monday the Sterns left court holding hands, and Yvonne Stern paused to tell reporters that she loved her husband and had forgiven him for "his indiscretions."
The jury could begin deliberations on Flores' case as soon as Wednesday.
Three Attempts on Yvonne's Life
The first attempt to kill Stern was a drive-by shooting at the couple's Houston home in February 2010. The house was sprayed with bullets, but Stern, who has two children, wasn't home.
Two months later, a man shot at her through the glass in the door but missed. The entire family was at home, but no one was hurt. Following the second incident, the family moved to an apartment for safety, but someone tracked Stern down there.
In May 2010, she was sitting in her car in the parking garage at the apartment when a man -- allegedly Flores -- approached her window with a gun leveled at her head. She begged and pleaded through the window, telling the gunman about her children and a new grandchild.
The gunman seemed to have a change of heart, lowering the gun from her head to her abdomen. He hesitated, then shot her in the stomach. She slumped over, played dead and, bleeding, drove herself to the nearest gas station for help, her attorney has said.
Another man, Nhut Nguyen, has already been tried for his role in the plot. Nguyen was sentenced in August to 45 years in prison for shooting at Stern at her home.