HOUSTON - The man at the center of a murder-for-hire plot sat down with KHOU's Len Cannon to share his side of the story.
Leon Jacob was a doctor and fell in love with a popular Houston veterinarian, Valerie McDaniel. Together, they are accused of hatching a plot to have their ex-lovers killed.
Weeks after the two were arrested, McDaniel committed suicide while out on bail.
Len Cannon spoke with Jacob for an hour at the Harris County Jail on Thursday.
"I'm not the monster the media is making me out to be, I'm just not." he told Cannon in the interview.
But it's not the first time Jacob has been accused of wrongdoing.
"You faced charges of stalking your ex wife and assaulting your girlfriend...the public sees that and they think 'trouble.' What do you say?" Cannon asked.
"People can sensationalize anything they want. I know what kind of man I am. I have never hit a woman, I've never beaten a woman." Jacob said.
He said all of those charges were dropped. In this most recent case, however prosecutors believe they have convincing evidence.
They say Jacob and McDaniel met an undercover officer posing as a hitman at an Olive Garden restaurant.
Jacob said he never intended to hire someone to harm or kill his ex. He said he thought he and Valerie were meeting with a private investigator. He said they wanted to check on their exes, not kill them.
"So you called someone to negotiate...what?" Cannon asked.
"I can't talk about that because of the pending trial. I have to be careful here. I'm fighting for my life. My lawyers have told me not to talk about certain circumstances." Jacob said.
Prosecutors say Jacob paid a hitman $20,000 and gave him two luxury watches.
"Was money exchanged?" Cannon asked.
"Not with a hitman." Jacob said.
"Money was exchanged." Cannon said.
"Not at that meeting." Jacob replied.
"Money was exchanged for..." Cannon said.
"Again, I have an impending trial, I can't really discuss that." Jacob said.
If he is telling the truth, why is he being charged for murder for hire plot? Cannon asked. His theory is that prosecutors overreached, they're overzealous.
Jurors will hear the audio from Jacob's interview with Cannon. The trial is set to begin in December.
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