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Mother and Son Who Hired Fake Hitman Sentenced to Prison

After pleading guilty to attempted murder charges, the two face seven years to life behind bars.

Updated September 21 @ 12 p.m.

A mother and son who tried to hire a hitman to kill his wife for financial and other reasons were both sentenced today to seven years to life in state prison.

June Carol Pickard, 57, and her 32-year-old son, Francis Richard Noble, pleaded guilty last month to premeditated attempted murder. The defendants will each have to serve at least seven years behind bars before becoming eligible for parole, according to prosecutor James Romo.

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 eventually would have been killed.

Mansour attended the sentencing hearing but did not address the judge directly. Instead, a friend read a letter on her behalf expressing "shock and disbelief" that her husband -- who she thought was her soulmate -- wanted her dead.

"I can't stop thinking about it," Mansour wrote, "from the time I wake up from the time I go to sleep. I loved Francis. He didn't love me."

Outside the courtroom, Romo said Noble and his mother "hated" Mansour and wanted to kill her so they could get at what little money she had.

"She had no idea," the prosecutor said of Mansour's knowledge of the plan to kill her. "She had no hint of an idea."

Attorneys for the defendants said their clients have expressed remorse for the plot to kill Mansour.

After police received information about the defendants' plans, an undercover police officer posing as a hit man met with the defendants in the parking lot of Parkway Plaza mall, Shakowski said.

During the encounter, 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.

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, Romo said.

-City News Service

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TRICIA ANN September 23, 2012 at 02:10 AM
I HOPE THE COURT SEE THIS AND KNOW THAT THIS IS DISFUNCTION FAMILY WITH LITTLE KNOWLEDGE OF HOW TO HANDLE ABUSE AND WHERE THEY COULD HAVE GOT REAL HELP PRAY FOR THEM FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY WAS ABOUT TO DO WITH A 100 DOLLARDS AND SOMEONES LIFE.
Emma September 23, 2012 at 02:24 AM
thanks! I was curious myself.
Glenn Posner September 23, 2012 at 10:10 AM
There seems to be way too many fake hitmen running around out there.
Terry Cooley September 24, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Sorry DW, I know Richard Personally and I have met his mom. He hated his wife. Yes He was being beat up; yet did not fight back. When you ask/tell your spouse about Divorce, what are they supposed to do? Sit down and have Tea? If you worked with Richard you may have known Mililani...My ex wife. I divorced her. I paid Alimony. She was from a different culture, yet here I am responding. I disagree about Richard not having options. I know Rita(his mom)was pulling the strings on this one, Richard however is an adult and knows that this was wrong. I think 7 years to life is a weak sentence and it should be more like 20 years to life. Richard was my friend until these events...When you murder or attempt or conspire to murder someone; it effects more people than you can possibly imagine. It breaks my heart.
D W September 24, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Terry, I only know what Richard told me. He never mentioned he hated his wife only that he didn't like the fact that all of his money went right to her to gamble. His mom though was a different story. Everyone knew she hated her. You know Richard so you would agree both he and his mom are a little slow.

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