A mother and son who tried to hire a hitman to kill his wife pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted murder charges and face life sentences.
In return for the guilty pleas from June Carol Pickard, 57, and Francis Richard Noble, 32, prosecutors dismissed charges of conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder.
El Cajon police were tipped off Jan. 6 to the murder-for-hire plot by an acquaintance of Pickard's.
The 31-year-old victim, Rita Mansour, had been married to Noble for three years and the couple had a history of domestic violence, Lt. Steve Shakowski said.
Shakowski said he was convinced that if the concerned citizen hadn't come forward, the victim would have eventually been killed.
After police received information about the defendants' plans, an undercover police officer posed as a hitman and met with the defendants in the parking lot of Parkway Plaza mall, the lieutenant said.
During the meeting, Noble spoke of his mother's wish to have his wife killed and made an initial payment of $100 to the undercover officer for the hit, Shakowski said. Noble said he and his mother stood to gain more than $100,000 if his wife died, according to the lieutenant.
A police officer testified in March that the defendants believed the victim had $80,000 in her bank account.
Police contacted Mansour on Jan. 12 after she left the El Cajon home she shared with her husband and mother-in-law. She was brought to the El Cajon Police Department, where officers told her about the plan to have her killed, authorities said.
With the victim secured away, the undercover officer told the defendants she had been killed. They were on their way to get another partial payment toward a promised $2,000 when they were arrested, said prosecutor James Romo.
Noble and Pickard -- who also admitted an allegation that the attempted murder was premeditated -- will be sentenced Sept. 21.
Each must serve at least seven years behind bars before becoming eligible for parole, Romo said.
-City News Service