HOUSTON A suspect in an alleged murder-for-hire plot against a Bellaire socialite was also recruited to kill his own brother, prosecutors said Thursday.
Richard Gutierrezwent before a judgeagain Thursday for a bond reductionhearing. Heis charged with solicitation of capital murder.
Prosecutors said he was offered $20,000 by Michelle Gaiser to kill socialite Yvonne Stern.
Gaiser and another man, James Lowry, are also charged in the case.
Prosecutors said Gaiser offered Gutierrez the money, gave him a photo of Stern and showed him where she lived.
Gutierrez, described by prosecutors as a middle man in the plot, told detectives he then approached his brother, Adam, about the hit.
According to court records, the brothers took $13,000 from Gaiser, and then Adam attempted to extort more money.
My understanding ... is that Adam was supposed to have done one of the hits on Yvonne but didn t, and instead extorted money from Michelle, Assistant District Attorney Kari Allen said.
Investigators said that angered Gaiser, so she approached Gutierrez again, this time about killing his brother.
Allen said Adam has not been charged in the case, but police want to interview him and were still searching for him Thursday.
Gutierrez wore a wire during two of his encounters with Gaiser, and Allen said prosecutors knew he would not follow through with the hits.
We never thought Richard wanted to have Adam killed, said Allen. That was just a conversation he had... Richard never intended to have his brother killed.
Gutierrez also told investigators that neither he nor his brother ever actually tried to kill Stern.
Still, Stern was the target of numerous attempts on her life, according to court documents.
In one incident, she was shot at through the front door of her Bellaire home, but was not injured. In another incident, she was shot in the stomach while in her car, but survived.
Investigators say Gaiser wanted Yvonne Stern dead because she was having an affair with Stern s husband, prominent Houston attorney Jeffrey Stern.
Jeffrey Stern has admitted to the affair, but told police he had nothing to do with the alleged plots against his wife.
Prosecutors have said this particular murder-for-hire case is more complicated than most.
I think it is very unusual that this many people were involved in a conspiracy to have one person killed, said Allen. There s still a chance for more arrests to come. We don t have the actual hit man so we are still out there looking.
Initially, bond was set at $100,000 for Gutierrez.
In court Thursday, prosecutors asked that Gutierrez s bond be reduced, but the judge still wanted more information before making that decision.
Allen said since Gutierrez cooperated fully with authorities, they don t believe he is a flight risk.
Obviously, cooperation with the police and turning himself in will be positive for Richard, Allen said.
Gutierrez is next scheduled to appear in court on July 15.