NC husband found guilty of murder-for-hire plot involving wife

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) - A jury in Pitt County Friday found James Edward Smith guilty on felony solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

Superior Court Judge J.C. Cole sentenced Smith to six to eight years in prison.

The 35-year-old was on trial accused of hiring a hit man to kill his wife.

Greenville police said they received a call in July from someone who reported a man, whom he met through mutual acquaintances, had tried to hire him to kill his wife.

Police immediately began to investigate and said their efforts, including an undercover operation, allowed them to collect enough evidence to support the caller's claims.

Smith was arrested within 12 hours of the call.

Greenville Police Chief Mark Holtzman said, "A murder for hire case is very, very rare. Most officers will never even see one in their career, I can only think of one other one in my career, nearly 30 years of doing this."

Holtzman added that the department had no prior signs of domestic violence or disturbances from the couple.

"It was an absolute shock to the family and to the wife," Holtzman said. "They did not see this coming, we did not discover any history of domestic violence for this family or calls of service between these two, so it really was a case out of the blue. We wanted to make sure we got it right."


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