Woman Jailed in Plot to Kill Ex-Husband Says She Didn’t Want Him Dead

PHOTO: Amy Bessey said if she really wanted her ex-husband dead, she could have shot him in self-defense countless times before.
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A Las Vegas woman in prison for plotting to murder her ex-husband said she never wanted him dead.

"I wouldn't want harm to come to him. He's the father of my children," Amy Bessey told ABC News' "20/20" from jail in her only interview. "I never asked for or caused bodily harm to Robert Bessey."

Bessey said that if she really wanted him dead, she could have shot him in self-defense countless times before.

"For over 15 years, I slept with a shotgun at the end of my bed ... with Robert beating the crap out of me the day before, the night before, and turning over and going to sleep," she said.

"I know the laws that would've been a right to shoot," she said. "There ... wouldn't be anybody in the world that would convict me ... of anything if I ever retaliated that way."

Earlier this month, Bessey was sentenced to 14 to 44 years for conspiring with her son and her brother in a botched plot to kill her then-estranged husband.

Tune in for the full story on ABC News' "20/20" on Friday, March 28 at 10 p.m. ET.

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One Man's Shocking Commute Unravels His Life

On Nov. 14, 2012, Robert Bessey was shot in the neck while driving to work on Interstate 15.

"In the corner of my eye, I could see that my rear window was blown out," Robert Bessey told "20/20" in his only interview. "At that point, I feel some blood in the back of my neck. I can feel ... the bullet

Robert Bessey told police the shot came from a gold SUV. Thanks to local news coverage, a trucker reported seeing a gold SUV at a gas station a few miles away from the shooting that morning. On the gas station's security camera footage, Robert Bessey's adopted son, Michael Bessey, and Amy Bessey's brother, Richard Pearson, were seen driving off towards where Robert Bessey was shot around the same time.

Police tracked down the gold SUV and found it belonged to Pearson's girlfriend. Michael Bessey and Pearson were arrested, and Robert Bessey told police that Michael Bessey had been threatening to kill him. But police also began looking closely at Amy Bessey.

Amy Bessey insisted to police she had nothing to do with the shooting. She said she was at dinner at her sister's house the night before, then went home and was asleep in bed when the crime occurred.

"Did he hurt me? Yes. Did he deserve to die? No," said Amy Bessey.

Robert Bessey didn't want to talk about his adopted son with "20/20," but in his statements to police, he alleged that Michael Bessey was the primary reason for his divorce from Amy Bessey and that Michael Bessey had an "unnatural relationship" with his mother, Amy Bessey.

Amy Bessey denied that there was ever anything wrong about her relationship with her son, and added that Robert Bessey made things up, and became delusional and unstable as Michael Bessey challenged his authority.

"Robert came unraveled over the last two years," Amy Bessey said.

Donna Speakman, Amy Bessey’s sister, told “20/20” that Robert Bessey became jealous when Michael Bessey and his mother would go out for drinks together.

“Then that’s when everything just kind of blew, because Robert kept insisting that Michael was getting too close to his wife… It’s ludicrous.” Speakman said. “It was just like sick. It’s like, that’s an insecurity or something, you know? It…wasn’t like they were going in…motels. They were going out to have a drink.”

Amy Bessey also said that she endured years of physical abuse from Robert Bessey. One particularly violent night finally led to the divorce and was part of the real reason Michael Bessey couldn't stand his adopted father, according to Amy Bessey.

"Before, it had always been hits to the ribs, hits to this, but trying to make it where it wasn't noticeable," Amy Bessey said. "He went off, and it was where I was on the floor with my hands and legs in the air telling him I just want to get up. I couldn't even breathe anymore."

“We went camping one year… Robert hit Amy and then had choked her,” Speakman recalled seeing evidence of the abuse. “And there were excuses, ‘I hit my face on the counter,’ just little bruises or little things.”

Amy Bessey wanted to leave her husband but didn’t know how, according to her sister Mary Pearson.

“She knew she had to get away,” Pearson told “20/20.” “She had to get away from Robert, but she didn’t know how. And she didn’t know if she could stay away.”

Robert Bessey would not discuss whether or not he was abusive to Amy Bessey, but said, "When I meant no, I meant no. When I meant yes, I meant yes. Is that controlling? I don't know."

A month after Michael Bessey's arrest, a jailhouse informant revealed to the district attorney's office that Michael Bessey had been spilling details of the plan to kill Robert Bessey, including how Amy Bessey had been planning the murder for months.

Amy Bessey was charged with seven felonies, including conspiracy to commit murder. At her trial this past November, the prosecution told the jury it had evidence that she had hatched multiple plots to kill her ex-husband. According to the prosecution's theory, her motive was not safety from years of abuse, but Robert Bessey's $250,000 insurance policy, of which she was the beneficiary.

"We suspected Amy was involved pretty much from the beginning because she was the one that directly benefits from Robert's death" Clark County Nevada Assistant District Attorney Sam Martinez told "20/20."

"That is beyond me," Amy Bessey said. "That's just pure evil. ... That's not the kind of person I am."

The prosecution argued that Amy Bessey masterminded a plan to kill her ex-husband, with Michael Bessey and Pearson, who had just finished a stint in prison, doing the dirty work.

Amy Bessey maintained her innocence throughout the two-week long trial, but it took a jury just six hours of deliberation to find her guilty.

Michael Bessey and Pearson both pled guilty and are expected to be sentenced at the end of April. The two can each receive 8 to 20 years in prison. They declined requests from "20/20" for interviews.

"I have forgiven everybody. I need to forgive them so I can move on with my life," Robert Bessey said. "Nobody's died here, so moving on is dealing with family with a forgiving heart."

"I may be in jail, but for the last 20 years, I've been in prison," Amy Bessey said. "So for me to have the freedom of my own will instead of a world being imposed on me on a daily basis, there is freedom in that.

"I got away. I'm alive. I'm whole. I'm rejoicing."

Watch ABC News' "20/20" on Friday, March 28 at 10 p.m. ET.

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