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Couple gets life in prison for contract murder

TAMPA — A federal judge Monday sentenced a married couple to life in prison for the contract murder of the woman's former husband.

Cristie Fay Bottorff, 34, and Jerry Alan Bottorff, 42, both of Brandon, received three concurrent terms of life in prison for the contract murder of Cristie Bottorff's former husband, Thomas Lee Sehorne, of Lithia.

As part of their sentences, U.S. District Judge Stephen D. Merryday also entered $1.04 million financial judgments against each defendant, representing life insurance policies paid after the death of Sehorne.

Luis Lopez, 24, whom the Bottorffs had testified was their hitman, was convicted in August after a jury trial. He is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 14.

Michael Garcia, who served as a middleman between the couple and Lopez, and helped arrange the murder, cooperated with officials during the past two years while he was in jail on unrelated drug charges, deputies said. His sentencing in the case is scheduled for Oct. 29.

The Bottorffs, Garcia and Lopez were each charged with the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting the carrying of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence resulting in death.

According to court documents, Thomas Lee Sehorne was found shot to death outside his home on June 7, 2007. Later that day, Cristie Sehorne and their two young children moved in with Jerry Bottorff, with whom she had been having an extramarital affair.

Cristie later began collecting on Sehorne's life insurance policies. She and Bottorff were married in December 2008.

The Bottorffs were arrested for the murder in May 2011. They pleaded guilty to all charges on July 9, and later testified against Lopez.

Both testified that they solicited Garcia, a friend, to find someone to murder Thomas Sehorne, with a promise to pay $60,000.

Couple gets life in prison for contract murder 10/22/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 10:17am]
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