Prosecutors say Timothy Humphrey knew his wife, Ashley, loved him enough to kill for him. Even after she was charged with murder, he believed she still loved him enough to lie for him.
That's according to a jailhouse snitch, Andre C. Talley, who testified Tuesday that Humphrey tried to get messages to his wife telling her he still loved her and suggesting she lie from the witness stand.
"He had major concerns about his wife testifying against him," Talley told a jury hearing the case against Timothy Humphrey. "He thought that if she believed he still loved her, she would do anything for him."
Both Humphreys were charged with first-degree murder for the killing of Sandee Rozzo in Pinellas Park on July 5, 2003. Police say Timothy planned the murder and Ashley, his young new wife, carried it out. Rozzo had accused Timothy Humphrey of sexual assault, for which he faced 10 years in prison.
Both Humphreys faced the death penalty. But a few months after their arrests, Ashley Humphrey offered to testify against her husband. For her help, prosecutors agreed to a 25-year prison sentence, which will keep her behind bars until her mid 40s.
That's when Timothy Humphrey began sending letters to Talley, who was housed on the same floor at the Pinellas County Jail.
Talley testified that Humphrey believed his mail was read by deputies, so he asked Talley to rewrite portions that were addressed to his wife, then send them to her through a third party.
Though the letters never tell his wife to lie outright, prosecutors believe they give that impression.
"It's not what you say," Humphrey writes repeatedly in the letters, "it's how you say it."
He also writes: "Take the deal. Take it. But do the right thing on the witness stand."
Humphrey promises her that if he is acquitted, he will go into business and make enough money to finance an appeal of her sentence.
"This is her chance at home - her only chance," Humphrey wrote.
As is so often the case with jailhouse snitches, Talley's credibility was called into question by the defense.
Talley has pleaded guilty to attempted murder for stabbing his wife. He faces a prison sentence ranging from just under six years to life in prison. Though prosecutors have offered him no promises, the judge set to sentence him will hear that he testified in another case.
In fact, defense attorney Joseph McDermott pointed out, Talley has offered to snitch against three other defendants he talked to in the jail.
Prosecutors intend to rest their case today.