Trial of Alleged Hit Man Begins Today; Alleged Victim, Yvonne Stern, Stands by Husband Indicted in Conspiracy Plot to Kill Her

Yvonne Stern's attorney husband conspired to have her killed, prosecutors say.

ByABC News
October 30, 2011, 7:26 PM

Oct. 31, 2011 — -- The case of accused hit man Damian Flores goes to trial today, but his alleged victim will likely grab the bigger headlines.

Her name is Yvonne Stern, and she has survived three attempts on her life in a span of six months -- attempts for which her husband of 20 years, prominent Houston attorney Jeffrey Stern, has been indicted.

Prosecutors claim Stern and his girlfriend conspired to kill his wife, and he's been charged with solicitation of capital murder.

Following the allegations, Yvonne Stern started divorce proceedings, citing adultery. Months later, she changed her mind and the pair reconciled. She is now standing by her husband as he prepares for his trial. The Bellaire socialite has even accompanied him to the police station as he turned himself in, hugging him and holding his hand.

Jeffrey Stern has denied the allegations against him.

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 Stern, who has two children, wasn't home.

Two months later, someone rang her doorbell at night. She went to answer it, and a man shot at her through the glass in the door but missed. The entire family was at home, but no one was hurt.

Following the second incident, the family moved to an apartment for safety, but someone tracked Yvonne Stern down there, too.

In May 2010, she was sitting in her her car in the parking garage at the apartment when a man -- allegedly Flores -- approached her window with a gun leveled at her head. She begged and pleaded through the window, telling the gunman about her children and a new grandchild. The gunman seemed to have a change of heart, lowering the gun from her head to her abdomen. He hesitated, then shot her in the stomach. She slumped over, played dead, and, bleeding, drove herself to the nearest gas station for help, according to Chip Lewis, Yvonne Stern's attorney.

Jeffrey Stern, and his girlfriend -- Michelle Cabrera Gaiser -- are among six people arrested and charged in the plot. Gaiser reportedly has admitted her role, according to ABC TV affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston.

Another man, Nhut Nguyen, has already been tried for his role in the plot. Nguyen was sentenced in August to 45 years in prison for shooting at Stern at her home, according to KTRK.

Prosecutors said during the trial that Nguyen's gun jammed, preventing him from firing again at Yvonne Stern.

When she took the stand in Nguyen's trial, Stern told the jury that her family had turned their house into "Fort Knox" after the April shooting.

"I'm a mom, a grandmother, a carpool person; who would want me dead? I'm a normal person," she said, according to KTRK's reporting.

Stern could face up to life in prison if he's convicted of the charges.

Yvonne Stern's lawyer says she doesn't believe her husband had anything to do with the plot.

"She is without a doubt convinced that he got involved with a woman who, for whatever reasons, through whatever grandeur delusions, psychosis, whatever it may be, believed that she needed to get rid of Mrs. Stern. And that is where the prosecutor and Mrs. Stern differ. ... She doesn't believe he had anything to do with planning the attempts on her life," Lewis told ABC News earlier this year.

ABC News' Olivia Katrandjian contributed to this story.