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Former TV chef Juan Carlos Cruz sentenced to nine years in murder-for-hire plot

Former Food Network chef Juan Carlos Cruz was sentenced Monday to nine years in state prison after pleading no contest to soliciting two homeless men to kill his wife.

The 48-year-old Westwood resident must serve half his prison term before he is eligible for parole, said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Chester Horn. Cruz also was ordered to pay $1,870 in restitution.

Santa Monica police say Cruz asked homeless men to commit homicide for him in May. After one of the homeless men told police, investigators launched a weeklong undercover operation that ended with Cruz's arrest in a Cheviot Hills dog park.

Cruz had pleaded no contest in October.

Neighbors and co-workers told The Times it was difficult to reconcile the accusations with the man they had come to know -- a devout churchgoer, community volunteer and doting husband.

A Knights of Columbus member who attended St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Cruz was a dog owner who volunteered at Love on 4 Paws, a therapy program that provides animals to sick children.

Cruz's wife, Jennifer Campbell, his high-school sweetheart, worked long hours as an attorney, neighbors said. He was often seen walking the couple's two dogs outside the Westside condominium complex where they have lived for many years.

Campbell did not give a victim impact statement.


TV chef who solicited homeless men to kill wife set to be sentenced

Former Food Network TV chef pleads no contest to seeking murder of his wife

Plot thickens in case of former TV chef accused in murder-for-hire plot

-- Andrew Blankstein

Comments () | Archives (13)

Serving 4 1/2 years in prison after conspiring to have your wife killed? Doesn't seem right, but it does illustrate that this so-called Christian is a sanctimonious hypocrite.

isn't that the case with all self proclaimed Christians?

I think this is a clear example of how backwards our criminal justice system really is! The man wanted his wife DEAD and actually attempted to hire people to carry it out and he only gets 9 years, of which he will probably only do half of at maybe 4 or 5 years. This is inasane when you look at our 3 STRIKES LAWS here in California that will send someone for stealing a piece of gum to LIFE without the possiblility of parole!!! Sad to say this, but if his wife was dead, then just maybe he would get a sentence in which he deserved...

This article does not give the whole story. His wife was suicidal (confirmed fact) and wanted to end her life, but was afraid to, because she is catholic. The reason for this depression, is because the two could not have children (but wanted them).

Juan Carlos, wrong in every way, thought that having his wife killed would give her what she wanted. His goal was to kill himself too, so he could be with her.

He is still very guilty and mis-guided. But understand, that is the reason why he is only getting 9 years. His wife is still "his wife" for a reason...they are not divorced and they are going to stay together while he is in prison.

Slap on the wrist, anyone?

I wonder what would happen if he wasn't a well to do, white enough, "christian."

I smell a storm brewing (no pun intended) lol.

Praise the law enforcement officers for a job well done. The have saved the life of an unsuspecting victim. Community participation in crime solving can indeed reduce the rate of serious crimes. The homeless men should also be lauded.
Citizens, you are your brother's keeper.

Disgusting. So just because he's too stupid to get her killed, he ONLY gets 9 years? Conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder should get the same sentence as murder. These people MEANT to kill. Incompetence shouldn't make a difference. Anyone capable of MEANING to kill is capable of doing it when they get out of prison.

What is WRONG with our country?

knight of columbus? paul the apostle? 2 of the most murderous people in history. no surprise on this end.

Wow, he got off easy, didn't he? I wonder if he will be allowed to cook gourmet meals for the prisoners (I wouldn't trust him if I were a guard).

As I read the story the DA didn't think they could make attempted murder could stick so they convinced the defendant to plead no contest to solicitation. A lesser charge. Sounds like the system is doing its usual thing but the reporting left me wondering whether or not his wife is standing by her man. After what happened, that would be quite a story if that was the case.

another 9 for how stupid this "plot" was

I went to culinary school with him in San Francisco. We graduated in '94 and knew him very well. I think this was a sting operation by the cops and the homeless people embellished the story just to get fed and have a warm place to sleep.


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