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Woman sentenced for conspiring to kill cancer-stricken husband

>A woman was sentenced Friday in Orange County to life in prison without parole for plotting the murder of her cancer-stricken third husband for her own financial gain.

Prosecutors say that Sandra Jessee, 61, carried out a complex scheme with a son from a previous marriage to kill her husband of 15 years. They say the husband, Jack Jessee, had become ill in the spring of 1998, and Sandra wanted to avoid paying for his cancer treatments and collect funds from his 401(k) death benefits. Jack Jessee was stabbed to death in the couple's home in August 1998.

Sandra Jessee was found guilty by an Orange County jury last December of one felony count of special circumstances murder for financial gain and one felony count of conspiracy, according to a statement from the Orange County disrtict attorney's office.

The case went cold until 2005, when additional evidence linked Sandra Jessee and others to her husband’s slaying. Jessee was arrested at her daughter’s home in Apache Junction, Ariz., in 2007 by Phoenix police.

Jessee apparently moved there to be closer to her son, Thomas Dayton Aehlert, 42, who lived in Gold Canyon, Ariz., and who had hired a hit man for $50,000.

On Aug. 13, 1998, Sandra Jessee left her husband at their Orange County house under the pretense of going to the bank, clearing the way for a hit man and his driver to enter the house. The hit man, Thomas Joseph Garrick, 36, of Laguna Hills, fatally stabbed Jack Jessee multiple times. Minutes later, Jack’s adult daughter discovered her father dead in the living room.

Authorities say Sandra Jessee collected $650,000 after her husband's murder from the sale of their home, his death benefits and insurance.

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-- Matt Stevens

Twitter.com/mattstevenslat

 
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