Texas Woman Loses Left Eye in Alleged Botched Murder-for-Hire Hit

PHOTO: Booking photo of John Franklin Howard, arrested in connection with the August 18, 2012 shooting of his wife, Nancy Howard, at their residence in Carrollton, TX, Aug. 26, 2012.
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The husband of a Texas woman who was shot in the face is being held on a $1 million bond after he was accused of paying for a hit on his wife.

John Franklin Howard, 52, paid a hit man at least $85,000 kill his wife, Nancy Howard, police said. The arrest affidavit says Howard may have a girlfriend in California, however authorities declined to comment during the ongoing investigation.

Nancy Howard lost her left eye in the shooting but is expected to survive, police say.

Howard was arrested on Friday and faces criminal solicitation charges.

On Aug. 18, Nancy Howard was approached by a man in her garage, according to the arrest affidavit for her husband.

"The unknown suspect put a silver colored handgun to Nancy's head and demanded her purse. Nancy gave the suspect her purse and was then shot in the face," the affidavit stated.

Howard was shot once above her left eye, according to her CaringBridge page.

"The bullet traveled through her throat and lodged just above her right lung...[she was] able to call 911 and talk with the dispatcher and EMTs before they intubated and sedated her," according to an account on the site.

The suspect, who police believe is Dustin Hiroms, fled on foot. He was arrested Friday and faces an aggravated robbery charge.

The alleged plot, which police said had been in the works since 2009, unraveled when a detective learned of a suspicious stop police had made in July a half mile from the Howards' Carrollton, Texas, home.

Hiroms and a friend, Jason Rendine, were pulled over for traffic violations on July 14.

Hiroms told officers he had come to Carrollton to get money from his uncle, who lives on Bluebonnet Way. Rendine mentioned it was the fifth house and that a Lexus was supposed to be parked outside, according to the affidavit.

After officers questioned the two men, they changed their story and said they were in town to meet with an investor named John who hired Hiroms as a hit man.

Hiroms was arrested for traffic offenses and was released two days later, according to the affidavit.

On Aug. 24, Billie Johnson, who is Hirom's stepfather and was being held at Denton County Jail on unrelated charges, contacted investigators with information about the alleged plot.

Johnson told police he was contacted by Howard three years ago and was offered money to have Nancy Howard killed.

"Johnson advised that over the past three years he has had numerous contacts and conversations with Howard regarding the contract killing of his wife," the affidavit stated.

After Hiroms was arrested on the aggravated robbery charge, he admitted to police he had met and received money from Howard, but denied having any role in the aggravated robbery of Nancy Howard, the affidavit stated.

An attorney for Howard was not listed in online court records.

He is being held at the Denton County Jail on $1 million bond.

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