Friday, March 18, 2011

Elderly Waco woman charged in murder-for-hire plot

Records of investigation under tight control

Waco – Joyce Sturdivant, 65, told investigators she came home to a silent house about 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 8, 2008, and found her husband shot dead with multiple wounds to his head and back.

Joe Sturdivant, who was 68 at the time of his death, lay in a pool of blood in their bed at their suburban Robinson residence.

Not much else is known about the murder.

All records of the investigation other than the indictment are sealed.

A Special Prosecutor, Attorney Guy Cox of Waco, is handling the case after newly-elected District Attorney Abel Reyna recused himself because he has in the past represented one of the witnesses in the case.

The couple for many decades operated an automatic transmission repair service shop together.

Last week, investigators arrested Mrs. Sturdivant at the south Waco shop after a McLennan County Grand Jury returned a two-count capital murder indictment that alleges that during the previous month, she at first hired two hit men to do the job.

After receiving a partial payment in U.S. currency, some jewelry and a promise of a share of the benefits that would be paid through an insurance policy on her husband's life if he were murdered, according to the indictment, “said attempt amounting to more than mere preparation,” Carlos Garcia and Chris Taylor backed out.

Their refusal to finish the job resulted in a situation that “tended but failed to effect the commission of the offense intended.”

In early October, Mrs. Sturdivant is accused of turning a firearm on Mr. Sturdivant as he lay in the bed, killing him “for renumeration or the promise of renumeration to wit: from life insurance policy in which the deceased was the named insured and the Defendant was named beneficiary,” according to the indictment.

She then called the Robinson Police Department to report that someone had shot her husband.

If convicted, Mrs. Sturdivant could receive the death penalty or a sentence of life imprisonment.

She is held in the County Jail on $1 million dollar bond, and is represented by the law firm of Moody and Darling, according to a financial document filed with other court papers in the District Clerk's Office.

Texas Departent of Public Safety crime scene investigators searched for evidence at the scene of the killing, at one point forming a shoulder to shoulder “walk through” of the 15-acre property, which is situated on a semi-rural stretch of Hwy. 77.

There is no public record of what was found.

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