JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi woman who pleaded guilty to trying to hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves handed down the sentence Monday. The sentence against Jessica Leeann Sledge, 40, of Pelahatchie in the unsuccessful murder-for-hire scheme also included a fine of $1,000 and three years of supervised release following her release from prison.
Sledge declined to make a verbal statement during her sentencing hearing. Her attorney, John Colette, said his client was a first-time offender with a “zero chance of recidivism.” Through his office, Colette declined to provide The Associated Press with an additional statement.
U.S. Attorney David Fulcher said the crime was premeditated and recommended the court give the maximum 10-year sentence that was offered as part of a plea deal.
"The premeditation of this ... Ms. Sledge knew (this murder) was going to take place,” Fulcher said.
Sledge pleaded guilty to using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire, said U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Jermicha Fomby, a special agent with the FBI's Jackson field office.
Between September 2021 and November 2021, Sledge used the internet, her cellphone and a messaging app to hire a person she thought was an assassin. But the person was an undercover FBI agent, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney’s Office.
On Nov. 1, 2021, Sledge met in Brandon with the person she thought was the assassin to provide payment and information about her intended victim. According to previous testimony, Sledge was attempting to kill her ex-husband, WLBT-TV reported. He escaped the incident unharmed, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. After her arrest, Sledge waived her rights and admitted to her role in the plot.
Judge Reeves said the planning of the crime justified his sentence.
“What we have here is a methodical plan to kill her husband,” Reeves said. “All of that is very troubling to the court and the law itself.”
Reeves said the court would recommend Sledge complete her sentence at the Federal Bureau of Prison’s women’s facility in Aliceville, Alabama.