Jeffrey Stern Murder-for-Hire Plot Has New Twist

Woman who plotted hits on lover's wife now accused of trying to have him killed.

ByABC News
June 12, 2012, 7:50 PM

June 13, 2012 — -- A woman who confessed to plotting with her lover, Jeffrey Stern, to have his wife killed allegedly is now trying to have him killed from behind bars, Stern's attorney has said.

Prosecutors say Stern, a prominent Houston lawyer, and his former mistress, Michelle Gaiser, planned three failed attempts to kill Stern's wife, Yvonne.

The plots failed, although Yvonne Stern was shot in the stomach during the third attempt.

Stern will be tried next month for his alleged role in the plots.

During a press conference on Tuesday, his attorney, Paul Nugent, claimed that that Gaiser was plotting to kill his client.

Nugent read from a jailhouse letter Gaiser allegedly wrote in which he claimed she ordered a hit on Stern.

"Michelle Gaiser -- from her jail cell -- has plotted yet another murder," Nugent said. "She has solicited an inmate to murder Jeffrey Stern for $20,000."

Nugent also claimed the letter said the killing should "look like a robbery gone bad."

Nugent would not give the media a closer look at the note, but he claims Gaiser wrote that the hit should happen near the Stern's vacation home in Aspen.

According to Nugent, the letter also said that if Stern was killed near the Aspen residence, "people will think the wife did the planning to kill him as revenge."

Nugent said he turned the note over to the district attorney, who declined to bring Gaiser up on any new charges. Nugent also claimed the FBI was investigating, but the agency would not confirm that.

Gaiser has agreed to plead guilty to arranging three attempts on Yvonne Stern's life. In exchange for her guilty plea and cooperation with the government, prosecutors agreed to reduce her possible life sentence to a maximum of 25 years in prison.

Jeffrey Stern was charged with soliciting capital murder, and will stand trial July 27. He admitted the affair with Gaiser, but has denied any wrongdoing in the murder attempts.

The first attempt to kill Yvonne Stern was a drive-by shooting at the couple's Houston home in February 2010. The house was sprayed with bullets, but Yvonne 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. The family moved to an apartment for safety after the second incident, but someone tracked Stern down there.

She was sitting in her car in the parking garage at the apartment in May 2010 when a man approached her window and shot her in the stomach. She played dead, then drove herself to a gas station to get help.

Yvonne Stern initially filed for divorce after learning of her husband's infidelity, but took him back. She has said she does not believe he was responsible for the attempts on her life.

"It's just, there's just no way. You know what, the affair, OK, I'll give you that one. But to plot my murder? It's preposterous. I've known this man for 30 years. I know who I'm lying next to," she told ABC News' Chris Cuomo in an April interview on "20/20."

Her confidence in her husband comes in part from what she sees as the sheer sloppiness of the failed murder scheme.

"Is this the plot of a mastermind? My husband is brilliant. He's smart. He's talented. He would never be capable of doing such a terrible job," she also told Cuomo.