Most people in their lives have gone through a bad breakup. It's an ugly event, filled with plenty of tears, anger, and sadness, but once the relationship is over, you can slowly start fresh and move on with your life. While everyone deals with the loss in different ways, the vast majority of people don't try to murder their former lovers.
But, not everyone can say they have the same morals, because a couple in Houston, Texas made the decision to hire a hitman to rid themselves of their ex-partners.
In January 2017, Meghan Verikas, 33, ended her nearly three-year relationship with Dr. Leon Jacob, 39, and later filed charges of domestic violence and stalking against her former partner.
Frightened that the charges could ruin his medical career, Jacob, along with his then new girlfriend, Valerie McDaniel, 48, decided to put a hire a hitman to kill Verikas, and Valerie's ex-husband, Mack McDaniel, 51.
While the McDaniels had officially divorced, prosecutors said the successful veterinarian still owed her ex-husband $1.25 million from the settling of their estates, and Jacob didn't want Verikas testifying against him in the stalking case.
Unbeknownst to them, they hired an undercover police officer to be their hitman, and offered him $20,000 and two Cartier watches to get the job done.
It wouldn't be long until their scheme began to unravel.
While this isn't the first time people have hired a hitman to do their dirty deeds, this is one where the victims have miraculously survived.
Authorities quickly notified Verikas and Mack, who had convinced them to stage photos to convince their former partners of their abduction and death.
"I sat in a chair in a warehouse and they zip-tied my hands and my feet and put duct tape around my mouth to make me look as though I had been kidnapped," Verikas said at Leon's trial, describing the set-up for the staged photos. "I had sat in that parking lot for an extended period of time so I was crying and really upset."
Mack, who also testified, said the ordeal as "beyond imaginable," as the police made the father-of-one look as though he had been shot in the head in a carjacking.
"If they would have been successful, Natalie would have not had any parents," he told the court.
While Jacob's trial is still underway, Valerie leaped to her death from her seventh floor condo prior to her first court appearance.
If convicted of solicitation of capital murder, Jacob could face up to life in prison.