Friday, May 25, 2018
News Roundup

Lithia man sentenced in 2007 murder-for-hire

TAMPA — A Lithia man was found guilty of murder for hire five years after a woman and her lover paid him to kill her husband.

Luis Angel Lopez, 24, was convicted Aug. 3 in connection with the murder of Thomas Sehorne after a weeklong trial in federal court. Sehorne's wife, Cristie Sehorne-Bottorff and her lover Jerry Bottorff, who both pleaded guilty on July 9, testified against Lopez during the trial last week.

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.

All four defendants face life in prison.

The murder occurred on June 6, 2007, when Lopez shot Sehorne outside his home in Lithia. Hillsborough sheriff's deputies discovered that Sehorne's wife was having an affair with Bottorff and the two had called Garcia for help in finding someone to murder Sehorne. Garcia agreed upon a price of $60,000 for the murder.

Lopez, Sehorne-Bottorff and Bottorff are all scheduled to be sentenced separately in late October.

Caitlin Johnston can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 225-3111.

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