Feb. 25, 2009 — -- When Dallas police arrived at Kenneth Hughes' workplace Monday morning to question him about his relationship with his wife and daughter, he didn't understand why they wanted to expound on his familial relationships or escort him to police headquarters.
Then when authorities told him his wife of 34 years, Shirley Hughes, and his oldest daughter, Tammy Lewis, had plotted a murder-for-hire scheme to collect on his $200,000 life insurance policy, he was shocked at the allegations made against his wife but not his daughter.
"My daughter ... I could believe it. My wife, no way," said Hughes, of Garland, Texas. "She's my wife, my friend, and I just don't think she would do anything like that."
But law enforcement officials believe she was involved in the would-be contract killing.
Police said Lewis offered to pay $25,000 to an undercover detective acting as a hitman to kill her father and said she wanted her dad shot dead as soon as possible.
The two met at a local strip mall, where Lewis gave the undercover officer a loaded pistol to use in the homicide. Lewis said she and her mother would pay the would-be killer the $25,000 fee from her father's $200,000 life insurance policy as soon as it was cashed.
"It's certainly unique to have two people involved in a murder for hire," said former FBI agent and ABC News consultant Brad Garrett. "Add another person and you're really increasing your odds of getting caught."
Shirley Hughes and Lewis confessed to police to having played a part in the plan. Both women are currently being held at the Dallas County Jail on $100,000 bond and face charges of solicitation to commit capital murder.
Motive for Murder, A Family Affair
Hughes said he blames his daughter completely for the alleged plan, not his wife.
"That's bad to say about your own daughter, but I can believe she did. She did do it," he said.
Lewis recently had moved into her parents' home after a divorce and was in deep financial trouble. Hughes and Lewis had a strained relationship.
Hughes said he supports his wife and talked to her briefly while she was incarcerated.
"She said she had just joked about it. I think she was telling me the truth. I don't think she would lie about that. She told me she loved me and wished she was here with me," he said.
He added that he hoped his spouse would be cleared of all charges and home with him soon. But Dallas police don't think it's likely.
The Hughes' other daughter, Tonya King, is heartbroken about the allegations.
"It's hard. I feel like I was really close to losing my dad. On the other hand, I've lost my mom and my sister," a tearful King said.