Wife Appears in Court to Face Husband in Alleged Murder-for-Hire Plot

Nancy Howard says she's "thankful" to be alive.

ByABC News
September 20, 2012, 1:58 AM

Sept. 20, 2012— -- One month after being shot in her driveway, allegedly by a hitman hired by her husband, a Texas woman appeared in court to face her estranged husband.

Nancy Howard walked into a Denton, Texas, courtroom Tuesday to move forward with her request for a divorce from her husband, John Howard.

Prosecutors say John Howard, a successful accountant who sang in a church choir, had a secret life and paid a series of alleged hitmen over $100,000 to kill his wife so he could be with his mistress in California. Nancy Howard was shot in the driveway of her Carrollton, Texas, home on August 18.

The mother of three was in a coma for days after the bullet destroyed her left eye and lodged in her lung.

"I prayed through the whole incident and called on God to save me, and he did. He carried me through," Nancy Howard told ABC News affiliate WFAA Tuesday as she walked into court.

John Howard admits to the affair that lasted four years, but denies having anything to do in his wife's shooting and has pleaded not guilty to criminal solicitation.

John Howard's attorney, Arch McColl, told ABC News that Nancy Howard really doesn't want a divorce.

"He has three beautiful children, a long marriage with a lovely wife who does not want to divorce him. She's indicated that in writing," said McColl.

Nancy Howard refused to answer any questions about her marriage outside the courtroom with reporters, but she's obviously moving forward with it by showing up in court Tuesday.

"I am thankful. Thankful that I have life. Thankful that God has given me life. That's going to be a great future," Howard told WFAA.

Frank Howard, 52, attended the hearing still wearing his wedding band, hoping to reconcile with his wife. "I think they've got a possibility of doing that. I think they're both people of strong faith; he's been very active in his church for 30 years — 25 or 30 years — he sings in the choir," said McColl.

Howard is also being hauled into court by a defense contractor that he used to work for. The company is accusing Howard of embezzling millions from contracts in the Middle East to finance his alleged secret life.

Police say the alleged plot to kill Nancy Howard began in 2009, just weeks before the shooting. The alleged hitman, Dustin Hiroms, was arrested on July 13 for traffic violations and the passenger in the car was identified as Jason Rendine, according to the affidavit.

The police stop occurred a half mile from the Howards' Carrollton, Texas, home.

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.

ABC News' Alyssa Newcomb contributed to this report.