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Blood Ties: Alabama Sisters Arrested in Connection with Murder-for-Hire Scheme to Kill Son-in-Law

Sisters Accused of Plotting Murder Against Middle Sister's Son-in-Law
Source: Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office

Judy Owen (left), Sandra Grimes (middle) and Mitzy Smith (right) have been charged with conspiring to kill a man married to one of their daughters, police said.

May 20 2024, Published 2:03 p.m. ET

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Three sisters in Alabama have been arrested for an alleged murder-for-hire plot to kill the husband of one of their daughters, according to police.

A criminal complaint obtained by WPMI shows Mitzy Gaye Smith, 54, Judy Owen, 61, and 57-year-old Sandra Grimes face federal charges in connection with the alleged plot that police claimed involved hiring a convicted felon to kill Grimes’ son-in-law, who she accused of abusing her daughter and their children.

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Officials said Owen paid a vet bill in February for Rebecca Murphy, who had previously lived next door to Smith, and called it a down payment for the murder.

Grimes and Owen told Murphy they “wanted the murder to appear as an overdose,” but they also didn’t care if she “had to slit (the victim’s) throat, as long as she got the job done," according to the affidavit.

The affidavit states the women allegedly told Murphy they had already paid a man $10,000 to do it, “but he ran off with the money.”

The sisters took Murphy to Louisiana, where the victim lived, telling her on the way why they wanted him dead, investigators claimed.

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They then detailed the victim’s alleged abuse of Grimes’ daughter and her children, claiming he had assaulted them all, drugged the daughter and forced her to have sex with other men.

Murphy allegedly received money from the sisters to buy heroin to kill the victim, and she made several trips to Louisiana but never managed to complete the murder, according to the affidavit.

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The affidavit includes alleged text messages using code names sent between the sisters and Murphy.

When Smith allegedly gave Murphy a box of Christmas decorations with a gun in the bottom, the affidavit claims, Murphy “knew the sisters were serious about the scheme."

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According to the affidavit, the sisters continued to pressure Murphy to finish the job, with one text message from Grimes in March instructed her to “stab him in the heart at the door or shoot his a** in the heart or face."

Murphy eventually turned the sister in to authorities.

Dom Soto, an attorney for one of the accused sisters, Smith, claimed to WPMI that Murphy may be “working some case off."

He added, “I’m just guessing. This is usually the scenario.”

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