Tuesday, June 19, 2018
News Roundup

Triggerman in Lithia murder-for-hire found guilty

TAMPA — The triggerman in a murder-for-hire plot that left a Lithia man dead in 2007 has been found guilty of federal charges punishable by life in prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Monday.

A federal jury last week convicted Luis Angel Lopez, 24, a Hillsborough County resident, of using a firearm in a murder and of the conspiracy and use of the mail or interstate commerce with the intent to commit a murder. Lopez will be sentenced in U.S. District Court on Oct. 18.

Cristie Sehome called authorities in June 2007 saying she had found her husband, Thomas, 37, an aspiring tugboat captain, dead behind the home they had once shared. At the time, the couple was separated. The couple had two children, a 6-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl.

But prosecutors said Cristie Sehome and her boyfriend, Jerry Bottorff, had plotted for months to kill her husband to collect $1 million in life insurance. They approached a former member of the Latin Kings gang and offered $60,000 for the killing, prosecutors said.

That former gang member hired Lopez, prosecutors said.

Sehome was shot once in the chest and head. A year later, Sehome and Bottorff married.

Both cooperated with authorities and have pleaded guilty to charges for their part in the killing. They're scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 22.

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