Leon Jacob sentenced to life in prison at murder-for hire trial

Ex-girlfriend, ex-wife testify at Leon Jacob's murder-for-hire sentencing phase

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter, Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor

HOUSTON - Leon Jacob, who was convicted of orchestrating a plan to have his ex-girlfriend and his lover's ex-husband killed, has been sentenced to life in prison.

Jurors deliberated for about an hour Monday afternoon during the sentencing phase.

He was also fined $10,000.

Jacob was found guilty Friday of two counts of solicitation of capital murder.

Jacob and his girlfriend, Valerie McDaniel, were arrested last March after the pair were accused of trying to arrange the deaths of Jacob’s ex-girlfriend, Meghan Verikas, and McDaniel’s ex-husband. 

McDaniel killed herself 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 maintained his innocence during last week’s trial, saying McDaniel was responsible for ordering the hits and that he was not clear on what she had done.

WATCH: Leon Jacob's ex-girlfriend reads victim impact statement

After the sentence was read, Verikas read a victim impact statement:

"You convinced me to leave my life I had in Pittsburgh and you convinced me it was awful. You manipulated me to leave my family and the life I had. I believe everything happens for a reason. While you sit in jail, I hope you think of me, the girl that you called poor and uneducated. It's because of me you'll be in prison for life.

"You will never see your children grow up. You will not be a part of their lives and they'll be better for it.

"I think some part of me always knew that you would try to hurt me and that you were always lying. The realization that your family also knew you were lying made it even harder to face this.

"You destroyed me financially and took away my sense of security, but you can do that no more.

"Enjoy life in prison."

Jacob appeared to be unemotional as he stared at Verikas. He was then escorted out of the courtroom by deputies.

Sentencing testimony Monday

As sentencing began Monday, prosecutors played recordings of calls Leon Jacob placed from inside jail. They included calls from his mother, Golda Jacob.  

In one call, Golda Jacob said Jacob should have listened to her and should have shut his mouth.

"You've got this big mouth. You can't control yourself," she said in the recording.

His mother said on the phone call that the two counts of conspiracy to commit murder were worse than if he had committed the crimes himself.  

Prosecutors attempted to describe a pattern of threats, abuse and stalking that they claim were a part of Jacob’s character for years.  

Verikas, one target of the attempted murder plot, testified again Monday. She claimed Jacob put a hand on her mouth and called her offensive names. She said after he put his hands on her, she no longer felt safe and she moved out. She said Jacob then stalked her.

Jacob continuously tried to contact Verikas, she testified, saying he stole the furniture that she bought and used the furniture to try to get her to meet with him.

Verikas said Jacob had others try to contact her at work for him and that she alerted security at her place of employment.

Jacob’s ex-wife, Annie Morrison, testified that they had a volatile relationship. She said he pulled a knife on her at one point and that at another time he threw her clothes down the stairs.

Morrison said the violence and abuse escalated. She testified she at first didn't leave Jacob because of their children.

She said Jacob claimed if she left him, he would kill her and no one would ever find her body.

The husband of Jacob’s mother took the stand, saying Jacob pushed him down during an argument.

Several women with whom Jacob is accused of having affairs also testified Monday.

Closing statements wrapped up around 4 p.m. and the jury returned the sentence about an hour later.

Jacob said nothing after the jury returned. His defense attorney said he believes there are grounds for an appeal because an important witness was not allowed to testify.

In the window below, you can follow coverage from KPRC2's Ryan Korsgard who was inside the courtroom.

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