SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Houston, Mo., woman was sentenced in federal court today for hiring someone to murder her sister.
Leta Faye Douglas, 52, of Houston, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to seven years and three months in federal prison without parole.
Douglas, who pleaded guilty on Jan. 4, 2016, admitted that she agreed to pay another person – who was actually an undercover law enforcement officer – $2,000 to murder her sister. Douglas must forfeit the $2,000 she paid the undercover officer to the government.
According to court documents, Douglas sent a letter to an individual in January 2015, asking for his help. This person, who lives in Nebraska, had not maintained contact with Douglas for about 18 years. When he called her in response to receiving the letter, Douglas told him that she wanted her sister killed. Douglas told him that her parents were in a home for the elderly and that her sister was in charge of their finances. He believed that Douglas wanted to have access to her parents' financial estate.
That individual contacted law enforcement authorities. An undercover employee of the Missouri State Highway Patrol contacted Douglas and made arrangements to meet in the Walmart parking lot in Houston on Feb. 9, 2015. The undercover, who was wearing an audio recording device, approached Douglas’s vehicle and got into the front passenger’s seat. During the initial conversation, she provided the undercover with a photograph of her sister and a hand-drawn map to her sister’s residence.
The entire conversation between Douglas and the undercover was recorded. Douglas told the undercover that her sister’s husband would also be home and that they had two dogs inside the house. She handed him an envelope that contained $2,000.
Douglas was arrested at her residence a few days later.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the South Central Drug Task Force.