CONROE, Texas (AP) — An 84-year-old woman jailed on a theft charge allegedly tried to hire a hit man to kill the Houston-area prosecutor handling her case and to maim his boss, one of the apparent targets said Monday.
Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said Dorothy Canfield allegedly sought to have him attacked and his assistant district attorney, Rob Freyer, slain. Neither man was injured in the alleged plot, which investigators said surfaced in early April.
Canfield allegedly wanted the attacks to appear similar to the recent unsolved killings of two other Texas prosecutors, Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, according to Ligon. McLelland and his wife were found dead in their homes on March 28, about two months after Hasse was fatally shot outside the local courthouse.
"Dorothy Canfield hoped to capitalize on the tragic murder of the Kaufman County district attorney, his wife and assistant district attorney Mark Hasse to disrupt the prosecution of her theft charge in the most violent way possible," Ligon said.
Canfield faces charges of solicitation of capital murder and solicitation to commit aggravated assault on a public servant, Ligon said. Authorities allege Canfield told other jail inmates of her plans to seek someone to kill Freyer and attack Ligon.
Canfield was being held Monday in jail in Conroe, about 30 miles north of Houston, on a property theft charge that involves allegations she posted as an immigration attorney to bilk clients. Canfield is not a lawyer, Ligon said. Bond was set at $500,000 in that case.
Canfield's attorney in the theft case did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
At a news conference, Ligon played a recording of a meeting on April 8 in the county jail between Canfield and an undercover law enforcement agent who posed as a hit man. In the recording, Canfield urged that the killing and maiming be done as soon as possible and for the alleged hit man to "make it look good."
Canfield sought to pay $5,000 for Freyer to be killed and $2,500 for the attack on Ligon, authorities said.
Authorities said Canfield admitted to trying to hire the hit man during an interview with two Texas Rangers on Monday. Sgt. Wende Wakeman, one of the Texas Rangers who spoke with Canfield, said at the news conference that the 84-year-old woman was "not very remorseful."
Court records show various theft and forgery cases having been filed against Canfield, with some dating back to 1993.
The deaths of the Kaufman County prosecutors were among several recent high-profile law enforcement killings, including the shooting earlier this month of a southern West Virginia sheriff and the March slaying of Colorado's prison chief.
Associated Press writer Juan A. Lozano in Houston contributed to this report.