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Assault charge against murder-for-hire suspect Leon Jacob dropped

HOUSTON – A judge denied a motion Thursday to recuse himself from the proceedings of a man arrested in connection with a murder-for-hire plot earlier this year.

Leon Jacob and his girlfriend, Valerie McDaniel, were charged in March with soliciting capital murder after being accused of trying to arrange the deaths of McDaniel’s ex-husband and Jacob’s ex-girlfriend.

McDaniel committed suicide in late March by jumping from the River Oaks high-rise where she lived.

Investigators said Jacob and McDaniel offered $20,000 and two Cartier watches as payment for the hits.

Jacob’s attorney filed two motions last week. The first was to request a speedy trial for his client. The second requested the recusal of Judge Jim Wallace.

During the first of Thursday's hearings, Wallace denied the recusal motion. That decision will be appealed, Jacob's attorney said.

The second hearing was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and is in connection with an unrelated assault of a family member charge.

Jacob has been in court several times since his arrest, mainly seeking to be granted bond in the case. The judge has denied each request for bond.

Jacob has a criminal history that includes domestic violence, aggravated stalking, intimidation and cyberstalking, according to court documents.

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