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Fumbling Hit Man Guilty In Texas Attack

HOUSTON, Aug. 16 (UPI) — A Houston jury found a Vietnamese immigrant guilty Tuesday of aggravated assault in an alleged murder-for-hire plot.

There were three attempts on the life of Yvonne Stem of the Houston suburb of Bellaire, The Houston Chronicle reported. But she has since reconciled with the husband who is accused of trying to kill her.

Prosecutor Kari Allen, in closing arguments, called Nhut Nguyen’s contention he was not trying to kill Stern “hogwash,” the newspaper said.

“The gun was jammed,” Allen said, showing jurors a picture of the 9mm semi-automatic pistol police found near Stern’s home, a round still lodged in the slide. “That’s why Mr. Nguyen did not kill Mrs. Stern.”

In a videotaped statement, Nguyen said he intentionally missed Stern but “caused a commotion” to get a portion of the $20,000 he had been promised if she were killed. The Chronicle said the round went through the glass front door of the Stern home as Stern and her teenage son went to answer the doorbell on April 15,2010. The gun jammed after Nguyen tried to fire off another round, officials said.

Jurors were expected to begin the penalty phase of the trial immediately. Nguyen faces up to 20 years in prison.

Yvonne Stern’s husband Jeffrey remains charged with two counts of solicitation of capital murder. Michelle Gaiser, with whom Jeffrey Stern was having an affair, also is charged with trying to hire hit men to kill Yvonne Stern.

Yvonne Stern was shot in the abdomen in the third attempt on her life, the Chronicle said. After that, she filed for divorce, but the couple has since reconciled and she has appeared with Jeffrey Stern at his court dates.

Before the April attempt, a gunman had shot at the Stern home in an apparent drive-by; a month after Nguyen’s attempt, Yvonne Stern was shot in an apartment the family moved to temporarily, but survived.

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