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Contract killing charges against Texas attorney Jeffrey Stern dropped

Contract killing charges against Jeffrey Stern, a wealthy Texas attorney accused of plotting to kill of his wife.

texas 7 24 2012Enlarge
"Cadillac Ranch" on historic Route 66 in Amarillo, Texas. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Texas prosecutors have dropped all charges against Jeffrey Stern, a wealthy Texas attorney accused of the attempted contract killing of his wife.

Stern, 55, was accused along with his mistress Michelle Gaiser of plotting to kill Yvonne Stern in 2010 and hiring three hit men for the contract killing.

In one of two attempts on Yvonne Stern's life, she was shot at close range in the abdomen in May 2010, according to Your Bellaire News.

A jury failed to reach a verdict on the man accused in the shooting, Damian Flores, and a mistrial was declared.

However, Nhut Nguyen, tried over a separate attempt, was convicted in August of aggravated assault and sentenced to 45 years in state prison.

Gaiser, who pled guilty to plotting to kill Yvonne Stern, is serving a 25-year prison term, KMAS wrote.

She was expected to appear as the star witness against Stern when his trial began Friday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

However all charges against the wealthy attorney were dismissed by a Texas court over "insufficient corroboration of accomplice witness testimony."

"They determined there was not enough credible evidence to go forward," Jeffrey's attorney, Paul Nugent said, according to the Chronicle.

Meanwhile, despite having initially filed for divorce, Yvonne Stern decided to publicly support her husband, appearing with him several times to say she did not believe he was involved in the plots.

She said she had also since forgiven Stern and urged prosecutors to drop charges against him, UPI reported.

According to Fox News, Nugent released the following statement on behalf of his Bellaire client:

"Jeff Stern, his wife Yvonne and their children are relieved and grateful that their two year nightmare is over. Upon a final review of their case, the Harris County District Attorney's Office realized there was not credible evidence to proceed and has dismissed all charges against Jeff Stern. The Stern Family appreciates the outpouring of public support and requests that their privacy be respected during this time of healing."

Meanwhile, Jim Leitner with the Harris County District Attorney's Office released the following statement:

"The Harris County District Attorney's Office has a duty to not simply prosecute, but to seek justice. This has been a case in which the evidence has continuously evolved. We have remained true to our mission by examining information objectively, weighing our decisions carefully, and acting prudently. Ultimately we have come to the conclusion that, at this point, the available evidence is not sufficient to justify taking this case to trial."

Nhut Nguyen, the gun for hire, was convicted of aggravated assault and sentenced to 45 years in prison.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120725/contract-killing-hitman-texas-jeffrey-stern-bellaire