Police: Man charged in murder-for-hire plot told ‘hit man' he & mother might need more assistance
Judge denies bond
HOUSTON – A man charged in a murder-for-hire plot will remain in jail after a court appearance Wednesday.
A handcuffed Leon Jacob, 39, appeared in court wearing glasses and an orange jumpsuit. He and his attorney asked a judge to consider bond, but his request was denied.
Jacob's attorney, George Parnham, argued that bond was set for Jacob's co-defendant and girlfriend, Valerie McDaniel, at $50,000, and that bond in another case for Jacob was set at $75,000.
Parnham said Jacob needs to be out of jail to assist in the case and because he has two children to support.
Parnham offered Jacob’s work resume’ as evidence that Jacob should be released from jai because he will be responsible enough to attend each court appearance.
Following the hearing, he said, “He is stable in the community. The fact that he was a practicing transplant physician, he has a good record and we hoped that the information provided would convince the judge that he would return to court.”
However, investigators said Jacob is a danger to the community.
According to prosecutors, Jacob told an undercover officer, whom he thought was hit man, that he and his mother might need "more assistance in the future."
In court, the investigator offered testimony that Jacob said he and his mother might want to hire a hit man again.
Prosecutor Nathan Moss said, “Mr. Jacob told the undercover officer that he may need his services or his mother may need his services again in the future.”
Wednesday afternoon, the Harris County District Attorney’s office said it would not comment on the court testimony. However a source close to the case said Jacob’s mother was not under investigation in the case.
The last time Jacob appeared before a judge, he stood beside McDaniel, who was also charged in the murder-for-hire plot.
Investigators said McDaniel and Jacob offered to pay $20,000 and hand over two Cartier watches to have her ex-husband and his ex-girlfriend killed.
But the couple's murder-for-hire plans were foiled after a whistleblower got police involved.
City Council Member Michael Kubosh, acting as bondsman for Jacob on a prior charge, alerted police to the murder-for-hire plot after Kubosh said Jacob told him he planned to hire a hit man.
Capt. Jimmy Turpin of the Special Crimes Bureau of the Harris County District Attorney’s office testified, "I received information from a reportee that the defendant, Leon Jacob was seeking to get rid of a witness on a stalking case.” Turpin said, “That worried Kubosh because of the nature of his comments and how they related to the victim of the stalking case for which Jacob was on bond.”
In the courthouse Wednesday, Kubosh told KPRC2 he's very upset about the case, and that it keeps him up at night. He said he was afraid someone was going to get hurt, which is why he went to police.
"Well I don't want to say anything that could jeopardize the investigation. You know I just want to do the right thing. I took an oath of office, to protect and defend the citizens of this city. And I want to stand on that issue. I don't want to say anything that will anywise jeopardize this case for the state or for the defendant," Kubosh said.
Kubosh also said he wasn't aware the details of his involvement were going to be released in court.
According to Dane Schiller, of the Harris County District Attorney's Office, the exes were notified of the plot to kill them, and they teamed up with an undercover officer to pose for photos portraying realistic crime scenes to convince McDaniel and Jacob that they had been killed.
McDaniel takes her own life
A day before she was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, McDaniel jumped to her death from the River Oaks high-rise where she lived.
Police said they received a suicide call Monday morning from a residence on Willowick. Police said a worker at the property made the discovery.
Police confirmed at 4 p.m. that McDaniel was the person who died. The medical examiner's office also confirmed that the body was that of McDaniel.
The charges against McDaniel will be dropped once her death certificated is released, according to the Harris County district attorney's office.
Jacob's attorney told his client of her death.
Jacob asked to attend McDaniel's funeral, but his request was denied by a judge in an informal hearing.
Jacob is charged with soliciting capital murder, according to prosecutors.
Jacob's troubled past
Jacob has a criminal history that includes domestic violence, aggravated stalking, intimidation and cyberstalking, according to court documents.
He is accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend in January and continuing to contact her afterward. Jacob was arrested Feb. 6 and was charged, and investigators said that is why he hired a hit man.
"The co-defendant says he was looking for somebody to kill a witness for his pending stalking charge," according to a probable-cause statement read by a judge Saturday in court.
Jacob and McDaniel didn't know that the hit man with whom they made plans was an undercover police officer, authorities said.
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