HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A jury has convicted Leon Jacob of soliciting to commit capital murder. Closing arguments in the trial began on Friday and jurors began to deliberate in the afternoon.
Jacob and his girlfriend, Valerie McDaniel, were each charged in the attempt to hire a hitman to kill his ex-girlfriend and her ex-husband. McDaniel later committed suicide while awaiting trial.
Jacob contends that he believed he had hired a private investigator to find his ex-girlfriend. He was recorded as saying his ex-girlfriend needed to “leave and never come back" so she couldn't testify against him on charges of assaulting and stalking her. He had patted down an undercover officer and asked if he was wearing a wire and if he was a police officer in addition to telling him that if his ex-girlfriend didn't want to leave, to do what he had to do.
"You don't kill someone you desperately love," says Jacob's defense attorney George Parnham. Jacob moved in with McDaniel seven days after the ex-girlfriend, Meghan Verikas, broke up with him.
"Reasonable doubt is all over the place," added Parnham during the closing arguments. "He is not guilty of solicitation of capital murder."
"The only thing Leon Jacob is desperately in love with is himself," said prosecutor Cameron Calligan during the closing arguments. "We heard his own words. 'Put this b---- in her place.' Who is this low-class woman trying to put the great Leon Jacob in his place? The way he talks to her...derogatory."
"He insisted he knew nothing about Valerie's plan, but he's on tape telling the hitman, 'OK, we'll give you $2,500 a week after the hitman says it will cost $10K to put a bullet in Mac McDaniel's head and make it look like a carjacking," added Calligan.