Charges dropped against Bellaire attorney Jeffrey Stern in murder-for-hire case

Charges dropped against Bellaire attorney Jeffrey Stern in murder-for-hire case

Credit: KHOU

Yvonne and Jeffrey Stern in court on Monday, October 31, 2011.

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by Michelle Homer / KHOU.com and Courtney Zubowski / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on July 24, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 24 at 2:19 PM

HOUSTON – All charges have been dropped against prominent Bellaire attorney Jeffrey Stern who had been accused of hiring a hit man to kill his socialite wife.

Jeffrey Stern had been charged with solicitation of capital murder.

Prosecutors originally claimed that Stern and his former mistress, Michelle Gaiser, conspired to have Yvonne Stern killed in 2010.

There were three attempts on Yvonne Stern’s life in 2010, but the first two failed. She was shot in the stomach during the final attack, but survived.

"Jeff Stern, his wife Yvonne and their children are relieved and grateful that their two year nightmare is over," said Paul Nugent, Jeffrey Stern’s attorney. 

The case took a dramatic turn last month when defense attorneys dropped a bombshell saying Gaiser had been plotting a hit on Jeffrey Stern from her jail cell.

Gaiser pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation of capital murder in exchange for testimony against her former lover and a reduced sentence.

Attorney Paul Nugent said Gaiser wrote a letter about the hit to another female inmate. Nugent said they found out about the letter last month.

In the letter, Nugent said Gaiser wrote that Jeffrey Stern’s death should be made to look like a "robbery gone bad." The letter also reportedly included a hand-drawn map of Jeffrey Stern’s day-to-day routine.

"Obviously, a close-range shot didn’t get rid of the wife, so you have to finish elsewhere to finish it …. A knife in the neck, get the carotid artery, and it’s over," the letter reportedly read.

Nugent said Gaiser wrote that the hit should be "clean," insisting in her letter that "This can’t come back to you or me. I can’t face another count of this."

In the note, Nugent said Gaiser also gave instructions on when the hit should take place.

"Once you get the money, don’t do it right away. My people will think, ‘Hmm, she just dropped 10 G’s and now this dude is gone,’" Gaiser reportedly wrote.

The most recent allegations against Gaiser raised questions about her credibility as the star witness against Stern.

"The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has a duty to not simply prosecute, but to seek justice," said First Assistant District Attorney Jim Leitner in a written statement Tuesday. "Ultimately we have come to the conclusion that, at this point, the available evidence is not sufficient to justify taking this case to trial.

Yvonne Stern filed for divorce after the ordeal, but it was never finalized. Stern has since reunited with Jeffrey Stern and has stood by him during all of the court proceedings. She said she does not believe he had anything to do with the plot against her.

"Today, because of all that we’ve been through, our marriage is stronger than it’s ever been," Stern told Texas Monthly Executive Editor Skip Hollandsworth in January. "It’s full of love, it’s full of honesty, and it’s full of forgiveness."

Yvonne Stern has filed a lawsuit against Gaiser, accusing her of assault and emotional distress.

Her attorney released the following statement Tuesday morning: "Mrs. Stern and her family are relieved this burden has been lifted. She remains extremely grateful to the first responders and medical professionals who saved her life and sincerely appreciates all of the hard work of the law enforcement officials who have worked tirelessly to bring the true perpetrators to justice," attorney Chip Lewis said in a written statement. "Mrs. Stern asks that everyone respect her family’s privacy as they attempt to put this nightmare behind them and move forward with their lives." 

Jeffrey Stern told KHOU 11 News off-camera last month that he feared for his life and that he believed Gaiser wanted him dead before his trial started on July 27.

 

 

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