Guilty plea from mother, son in murder-for-hire plot
EL CAJON (CNS) – A mother and son who tried to hire a hitman to kill his
wife pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted murder charges and face life sentences.
In return for the guilty pleas from June Carol Pickard, 57, and Francis
Richard Noble, 32, prosecutors dismissed charges of conspiracy and solicitation
to commit murder.
El Cajon police were tipped off Jan. 6 to the murder-for-hire plot by an
acquaintance of Pickard's.
The 31-year-old victim, Rita Mansour, had been married to Noble for
three years and the couple had a history of domestic violence, Lt. Steve
Shakowski said he was convinced that if the concerned citizen hadn't
come forward, the victim would have eventually been killed.
After police received information about the defendants' plans, an
undercover police officer posed as a hitman and met with the defendants in the
parking lot of Parkway Plaza mall, the lieutenant said.
During the meeting, Noble spoke of his mother's wish to have his wife
killed and made an initial payment of $100 to the undercover officer for the
hit, Shakowski said. Noble said he and his mother stood to gain more than
$100,000 if his wife died, according to the lieutenant.
A police officer testified in March that the defendants believed the
victim had $80,000 in her bank account.
Police contacted Mansour on Jan. 12 after she left the El Cajon home she
shared with her husband and mother-in-law. She was brought to the El Cajon
Police Department, where officers told her about the plan to have her killed,
With the victim secured away, the undercover officer told the defendants
she had been killed. They were on their way to get another partial payment
toward a promised $2,000 when they were arrested, said prosecutor James Romo.
Noble and Pickard — who also admitted an allegation that the attempted
murder was premeditated — will be sentenced Sept. 21.
Each must serve at least seven years behind bars before becoming
eligible for parole, Romo said.