HOUSTON A prominent Bellaire attorney accused in an alleged murder-for-hire plot against his socialite wife has pleaded not guilty and will return to court in March.
Jeffrey Stern appeared in court Monday with his wife, Yvonne, once again by his side.
Stern is charged with two counts of solicitation of capital murder.
Prosecutors believe Stern solicited his purported mistress, Michelle Gaiser, to arrange for the murder of his wife in April and May of 2010.
Yvonne Stern was shot in the stomach on May 5, 2010, but survived. On April 15, 2010, police said someone knocked on the door of the Sterns Bellaire home and shot through the window.
Yvonne Stern was not injured in that incident.
Police have said the socialite was also targeted in a drive-by shooting at her home on February 10, 2010, but that incident was not mentioned in the indictment against her husband.
Jeffrey Stern s attorney said the next court date was set for March 9 so the defense team could review the evidence presented by the prosecution.
I just remind everyone, don t rush to judgment. Let s see what all the evidence shows. We re confident we re going to review the evidence, but in the end, we re confident that Jeffrey Stern will be vindicated of these charges, Stern s attorney said.
When asked why she chose to stand by her man, Yvonne Stern declined to comment Monday, but her husband s attorney spoke on her behalf.
Mrs. Stern doesn t want to comment at this time, but I think her actions speak for themselves, he said.
Jeffrey Stern is the fifth person charged in a case that even prosecutors have admitted is more complicated than most.
Prosecutors said Gaiser, who worked for Jeffrey Stern and is also charged with solicitation of capital murder, admitted to police that she provided money to have her boss wife killed.
Nhut Nguyen, James Lowery and Richard Gutierrez have been charged in the case, as well.
Nguyen is charged with aggravated assault in connection with the shooting on April 15.
Lowery and Gutierrez are both charged with solicitation of capital murder.
Police have said Stern admitted to having an affair but denied having anything to do with the attempts on his wife s life.
Yvonne Stern filed for divorce last year, citing adultery, but it doesn t appear that the split was ever finalized. The Sterns have two teenage children.
If convicted of the first-degree felony charges, Jeffrey Stern could spend anywhere from 5 years to life in prison and pay fine of up to $10,000.
Stern turned himself in on January 31 but has been out on $1,000,000 bond ever since.