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Brandon Couple Sentenced to Life in Prison in Contract Murder Case

A federal court judge in Tampa sentenced Cristie Fay Bottorff and Jerry Alan Bottorff of Brandon this week to three concurrent terms of life in federal prison for the contract murder of Cristie Bottorff's former husband, Thomas Lee Sehorne, of Lithia, Florida. The court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $1,043,517.99 against each defendant. This was the amount collected against Sehorne's life insurance policies paid after his death in 2007.

The Bottorffs were arrested on May 23, 2011 and pleaded guilty on July 9, 2012. They testified against Luis Angel Lopez, who was allegedly the hit man who actually shot Sehorne.

According to court documents, Sehorne was found shot to death outside his home in Hillsborough County on June 7, 2007. Later that day, Cristie Bottorff (then Cristie Sehorne) and the two minor Sehorne children moved in with Jerry Bottorff. She soon reached a settlement regarding Sehorne's life insurance policies. She and Jerry Bottorff were married in December 2008.

Two and a half years after they married, on May 23, 2011, the Bottorffs were arrested. Both Bottorffs ultimately testified that they solicited a friend, Mike Garcia, to find someone to murder Thomas Sehorne, promising to pay $60,000.00, after they obtained the life insurance proceeds.

The Bottorffs, Garcia and Lopez were each charged in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa's federal court, with the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting the carrying of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence resulting in death.

Garcia was the first conspirator arrested in 2008. He immediately cooperated with law enforcement authorities. Luis Angel Lopez was convicted on August 3, 2012, after a jury trial.

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  • American inns of court
  • norml
  • National association of criminal defense lawyers
  • Clearwater bar association
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

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