Man found guilty in Norfolk murder-for-hire plot of pregnant wife

Posted at 9:48 PM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 23:33:13-04

NORFOLK, Va. - A man has been found guilty of plotting to kill his pregnant wife in exchange for money from her life insurance policy.

The jury recommended a sentence of 35 years: 25 years for attempted capital murder, five years for conspiracy to commit capital murder and five years for malicious wounding.

Anthony Christopher Johnson

Anthony Christopher Johnson

Police say Anthony "Tony" Johnson hired three men back in August 2015 to murder his 19-year-old wife, Elizabeth, for her life insurance policy while she was pregnant with their child.

He was charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder.

Elizabeth Johnson survived the murder attempt. She is now healthy and has had her baby, who is also healthy.

The three men -- Joseph Apodaca, 21; Robert James Burnette, 18;  and Tristan Reeder, 21; were all charged with two counts of Conspiracy, with Burnette and Reeder each additionally receiving one count of Malicious Wounding.

On Wednesday June 15, 2016 Robert Burnette was found guilty for Attempted Capital Murder.

Apodaca testified in court in November that Johnson's wife had a life insurance policy worth several hundred thousand dollars and the four of them fantasized about what it would be like to have that much money.

Apodaca says Johnson had been pressuring them to kill his wife and to make it look like a break-in. But when it came down to the day, Apodaca backed out.

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Robert Burnette was found guilty for Attempted Capital Murder.

He told the judge Reeder and Burnette broke into Johnson's Norfolk apartment and tried to break Elizabeth's neck while she was asleep.

Elizabeth initially maintained that her husband was innocent.

Johnson spoke from jail after his arrest, saying that he loves his wife.

"I'm completely innocent," he said.


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