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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jeffrey Stern Murder-For-Hire Charges Dropped

Yvonne Stern stood by her husband, Jeffrey Stern, despite prosecutors' allegations that he was behind a plot to kill her. Proseuctors have now dropped all charges against Jeffrey Stern.

A well-known Houston-area attorney accused of orchestrating at least three unsuccessful attempts on his wife’s life has been cleared of charges in the murder-for-hire plots on Tuesday after prosecutors decided they didn't have enough evidence against him.

The move comes just days before Jeffrey Stern was set to go on trial on two counts of soliciting capital murder in a 2010 alleged plot that also involved his former mistress Michelle Gaiser.

In one of the three attempts, Stern's wife, Yvonne, suffered a bullet wound to her stomach while sitting in a car.

Stern, 55, insisted he had no involvement in the murder tries. The attorney and his wife have reconciled in the aftermath of his affair, and Yvonne Stern has been supporting her husband throughout the case. She said they had become victims of a ‘fatal attraction’ situation.

In a statement from her attorney on Tuesday, Yvonne Stern expressed her relief that the case against her husband of 20 years has been dropped.

‘Mrs Stern and her family are relieved this burden has been lifted,’ the Houston socialite said via her lawyer. ‘She remains extremely grateful to the first responders and medical professionals who saved her life and sincerely appreciates all of the hard work of the law enforcement officials who have worked tirelessly to bring the true perpetrators to justice.’

Jim Leitner, the Harris County first assistant district attorney, said the prosecutor's office had a duty to ‘not simply prosecute, but to seek justice.’

‘This has been a case in which the evidence has continuously evolved,’ Leitner said. ‘We have remained true to our mission by examining information objectively, weighing our decisions carefully and acting prudently.

'Ultimately we have come to the conclusion that, at this point, the available evidence is not sufficient to justify taking this case to trial.’

Last month, Stern's attorneys held a press conference to state that they had intercepted a letter allegedly written by Gaiser which proved that the 39-year-old woman attempted to hire a fellow inmate to kill him from behind bars in retaliation for turning on her, ABC News reported.

Stern's lawyer, Paul Nugent, applauded the prosecution's decision today.

‘Jeff Stern, his wife Yvonne and their children are relieved and grateful that their two-year nightmare is over,’ he said.

‘Upon a final review of their case, the Harris County District Attorney's Office realized there was not credible evidence to proceed and has dismissed all charges against Jeff Stern,’ Nugent said in a statement.

Gasier and Stern were both accused of hiring hitmen on three separate occasions to kill the lawyer’s 54-year-old wife.

The former mistress took a plea bargain on the charge that could have sent her to prison to life if convicted and accepted a 25-year prison term, but now that status of the deal with the prosecution is in question. She had been expected to testify against Stern when he went to trial.

One of the hired killers is serving 45 years in prison. Jurors deadlocked at the trial of a second gunman and a judge declared a mistrial. He and a third man are awaiting trial.

The first attempt to kill Yvonne Stern was a drive-by shooting at the couple's Bellaire home in southwest Houston in February of 2010. The house was sprayed with bullets, but Mrs 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 of 2010 when a man approached her armed with a gun. She begged for her life, but he shot her in the stomach. Mrs Stern 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 eventually forgave him, saying that the man she met two decades ago on a blind date is still her ‘soul mate.’ She has said she does not believe he was responsible for the attempts on her life.

She told ABC News that the sloppiness of the attempts to murder her made her confident that her husband could not have been involved.

‘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 said.

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