Woman arrested on murder for hire charges

Woman arrested on murder for hire charges
By: Carly O'Keefe
BENTON, Ill. - A Franklin County family is breathing a sigh of relief after the arrest of a woman police say tried to pay to have two of its members killed.
Forty-one-year-old Leslie Grove of Benton has been charged with two counts of solicitation of murder for hire.
"The Benton Police received information that Leslie Grove was interested in hiring someone to commit a murder," said Benton Police Chief Mike O'Neill.
That information launched an investigation in mid-January. Since then, police have kept a watchful eye the Clements family, the would-be victims of Grove's alleged murder for hire plot.
"The police monitored our house, and we took steps too to protect our family," said Ben Clements.
According to court documents, Grove offered to pay undercover Benton Police officer Mike Andrews $500 to kill Clements and offered another $500 to kill his wife Terra Clements.
"The victims are very good people, they didn't ask for this," said O'Neill.
Folks who live near Grove are shocked that a plot to kill the Franklin County couple may have been hatched right in their neighborhood.
"I know the Clements family, I know their daughter, and it really kind of made me scared, and I didn't realize until I talked to their daughter that she (Grove) lived so close. I didn't realize she lived across the street," said neighbor Amber Blythe.
Neither Chief O'Neill nor Clements would comment on the apparent reason Grove wanted the couple dead. O'Neill says releasing that information at this point could jeopardize the case in court.
"I want to remove all speculation out there, this is not a husband/wife quarrel, it's not a business partner dispute, and there were no inappropriate relationships that occurred. The reason why is unique in this situation," said O'Neill.
Ben Clements hopes his family's life can now get back to normal, now that Grove is behind bars.
"It's a huge relief," said Clements. "We're glad that everyone has supported our family and done the best that they could to help protect us."
Soliciting murder for hire is a class-x felony in Illinois, punishable by 20 to 40 years in prison.