The mistress in a love triangle murder-for-hire plot has been sentenced to serve a prison sentence of 20 years.
Michelle Gaiser, 39, who was convicted of solicitation of capital murder in August 2011, was sentenced in court on Friday morning after prosecutors agreed to a plea deal that reduced the duration of the sentence from 45 years.
Gaiser was involved in a relationship with attorney Jeffrey Stern, who was also charged with solicitation of capital murder after his wife, Yvonne Stern, was shot in June 2010. The Harris County District Attorney's Office dismissed the charge against Stern on Tuesday.
Prosecutors said Gaiser hired men to kill Yvonne, who has supported her husband Jeffrey throughout the trials related to the solicitation cases.
Nhut Nguyen, the shooting suspect, was convicted of aggravated assault and sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Assistant Harris County District Attorney Kari Allen released the following statement on Friday morning regarding the plea agreement accepted by Gaiser:
With today's plea agreement, the Harris County District Attorney's Office has put a fourth person involved in attempts to murder Yvonne Stern behind bars. Combined, members of these conspiracies have been sentenced to a total of ninety-five years in prison.
From the day she was arrested, Ms. Gaiser cooperated with investigators and prosecutors. Critically, she was our only source for the identity of the gunman who shot Mrs. Stern.
A jury eventually gave that gunman a 20-year sentence. Ms. Gaiser is receiving an equally harsh 20 year sentence, as well as a conviction that will eventually result in her deportation.
Yvonne's attorney, Chip Lewis, said Gaiser was supposed to serve 40 years and blasted the plea deal as "corrupt." Lewis said Gaiser's lawyer is a political ally of DA Pat Lykos and was enraged when the case against Jeffrey Stern as an accomplice got dropped.
"Jim Stafford threw a fit that the case was going to be dismissed and Patsy Lykos pacified him by agreeing to give his client 20 years," Lewis said.
Stafford fought back.
"Judge Lykos and I never had a conversation about a plea bargain and I'm totally amazed that they would raise that because it's not true," Stafford said.
District Attorney Pat Lykos also released a statement in response to comments made by 'Chip' Lewis, the attorney representing Yvonne Stern:
Chip Lewis has once again demonstrated that he and the truth are strangers, and calumny is his constant companion. Defamation spews from his lips as naturally as breathing.
Kari Allen is a hardworking, conscientious, ethical prosecutor. Unlike Mr. Lewis, her integrity is unassailable. Despite literally standing at the side of a family member about to enter surgery this morning, Kari has been in contact with our office and categorically denies Mr. Lewis' bald-faced lies.
Today's plea was her decision, made after a careful review and thoughtful deliberation of the facts surrounding the Stern affair. I trust her judgment, and she has my full support.
Mr. Lewis, by way of contrast, left the Harris County District Attorney's Office under a cloud. For now, one example should suffice to reveal his character.
While working as an ADA, Lewis was the prosecutor in a sexual assault case wherein three defendants were charged with raping an unconscious young woman. One afternoon-off docket and without notifying the victim in advance-Lewis went before the Judge of the 262nd District Court and had charges against two of the men dismissed outright, with the third reduced to a non-sexual offense. Shortly thereafter Lewis resigned from the District Attorney's Office and went to work for one of the defense attorneys involved.
This is the man who proposes to stand in judgment of Kari Allen's ethics and integrity. Were he capable of it, he should be ashamed.
The judge in the 262nd district court was Mike Anderson, the man who defeated Lykos in the Republican primary. He said that never happened.
"No, we were ready for trial," Anderson said. "The complainant in the case said this is the plea deal that she wanted. She probably hasn't looked at the record. You know any disagreement between me and Pat Lykos should be in the past. I'm moving on."