Couple charged in murder-for-hire plot to kill ex-spouse

By Janelle Bludau - Reporter, Ashlynn Turner - Content Editor

HOUSTON - There are serious allegations against a Houston veterinarian who is the mother of an 8-year-old girl.

"During the course of the discussion, she indicated that she wanted her ex-husband taken care of," court documents said. 

Charges were read Saturday against 48-year-old Valerie McDaniel as she stood in front of a judge at the Harris County Jail.

"Probable cause for your arrest, Ms. McDaniel. Bond is set at no bond," the judge said.

Court documents show McDaniel was arrested Friday, along with her live-in boyfriend, 39-year-old Leon Jacob. Both are charged with soliciting capital murder.

Documents show Jacob has a criminal arrest history for domestic violence, aggravated stalking, intimidation and cyberstalking.

Jacob allegedly assaulted his ex-girlfriend in January, and continued to contact her afterward. Jacob was arrested Feb. 6, and has been charged, which is why investigators say 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 the probable cause statement read by the judge in court.

But unbeknownst to the suspects, that hit man they made plans with was an undercover police officer.

According to Dane Schiller, of the Harris County District Attorney's Office, the exes were notified that there was an alleged plot to kill them, so they teamed up with the officer to pose for photos portraying realistic crime scenes to convince McDaniel and Jacob that the two had been killed.

Investigators said McDaniel offered to pay $10,000 to have her ex-husband killed.

Channel 2 spoke with the family of the ex-husband. They did not want to comment, only to say that the daughter is safely in their care. 

The couple have a court date set for Monday.

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