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Texas Parole Officer Hires Parolee for Murder

In May 2002, Texas Parole Officer Connie Lynn Stones pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation of capital murder after police recorded her trying to hire a hit-man to kill her lover's girlfriend.

Stone was in love with Brett Williams, who had once been under her supervision and she was eager to further their relationship. Her only complication was the presence of the man's former wife. So Stone resolved to have the woman killed.

After meticulously searching her records, Stone settled on Stephen Armistead, newly released from prison, to do her dirty work. When Armistead heard the proposal he became paranoid and went to the police. Police wired Armistead who then set up a meeting with Stone to work out the lurid details of her plan.

"Well, uh, did you have any how you want this done?" asked Armistead. "Do you want me to make it like...a burglary gone wrong, or a drug deal gone wrong or a rape gone wrong?"

"It doesn't matter," Ms. Stone said laughing. "I'm thinking just a drive-by would be the best to me."

Richardson police recorded the entire conversation and arrested Stone as she left Armistead's house.

Defense attorney Brad Lollar argued that Stone suffered from undiagnosed depression and borderline personality disorder. He also argued that Ms. Stone exhibited a typical "pathology" seen in women involved in abusive relationships. Lollar said that Stone, who is white, was beaten and used for sex and money by Williams, who is black. He accused Williams of forging $7,000 worth of Stone's checks.

Prosecutor Fred Burns also noted the race angle when he argued that Stone solicited Armistead because he was a member of a white-supremacist gang in prison.

Before she ran afoul of the law, Stone held a variety of sensitive law enforcement positions. Stone once worked for the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, she was a child-abuse investigator in Florida, and eventually a district parole officer in Texas where she met her lover, Williams. Because of her background in law enforcement, Stone offered to pull some legal strings for Armistead along with the $1,500 cash she had already given him.

"I played along," said Amistead. "I was doing this for my protection at the time. I wasn't really sure what was going on, but I knew it wasn't right." It is arguably one of Armistead's few smart decisions. His 17 prior arrests and his current status on an ankle monitor are testaments to his less than successful criminal career.

For her own part Stone admitted her guilt. "I knew I wanted it done, but there was also a part that would be questionable with the leg monitor and for me to be with a black guy," she said. "In a way, I was looking to be punished."

Stone got her wish. A Dallas County judge and prosecutor granted her 40 years in TDCJ. Williams, who claimed no knowledge of the plot, was not charged.

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