Friday brought a huge developments in a Cape Girardeau triple murder case, as Michelle Lawrence pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in the 2009 plot that claimed the lives of Jamie Orman, her 15-year-old son Derrick, and unborn son.
Lawrence is the second of three suspects in the case to plead guilty. Samuel 'Ray Ray' Hughes also plead guilty in December. Hughes admitted he served as a lookout during the crime. However, Hughes said he thought he was participating in a burglary, not a murder.
Hughes and Lawrence both entered their pleas as part of a deal with prosecutors. Hughes now only faces one court of second-degree murder instead of three. Both Hughes and Lawrence have agreed to testify at alleged shooter Ryan Patterson's upcoming trial.
Patterson pleaded not guilty at an earlier court date.
Proceedings Friday took place at the Bollinger County Courthouse in Marble Hill. In a statement, Lawrence told Judge William Syler the Orman's were not her intended target.
"Ryan and I discussed how our lives would be better without John," Lawrence told Judge Syler. "He said he would put a cap in him."
Lawrence went onto say she and Patterson planned to kill her estranged husband John Lawrence for a life insurance policy.
According to prosecutors, the plan went wrong and on the night of the murders, John Lawrence wasn't home, and Jamie, her baby and Derrick lost their lives instead.
"We talked about ways to get into the house," Lawrence said
Lawrence also told the court she went to Wal Mart to buy bullets for Patterson's gun.
"It's sickening to listen to," said Kelly Hoffman, Jamie Orman's sister, after hearing Lawrence speak. "We're all holding up as best we can."
Hoffman and other family members said they would like to see all three individuals involved get the maximum penalty.
"Nothing will bring them back," Hoffman said.
Patterson's trial is set for August. Lawrence and Hughes will be sentenced following that trial. Patterson could face the death penalty.
Meanwhile, Swingle says he will ask for 20 years for Hughes and 15 years for Lawrence.