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Wife admits plot to kill Paet

By Janela Buhain HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety, Dec. 23, 2010) – The four murder suspects behind the slaying of Staff Sergeant Nathan Paet in Nevada earlier this month were indicted yesterday by the Clark County Grand Jury -- including the airman’s wife, Michelle Paet, who allegedly plotted his death to collect US$650,000 in life insurance money.

Michael Rudolph Rodriguez, 31, Corry A. Hawkins, 33, Jessica A. Austin, 23, and Paet’s 29-year-old wife were charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and burglary with a deadly weapon.

Rodriguez and Hawkins were additionally charged with one count each of possession of a firearm as ex-felons.

All four suspects are being held without bail.

Paet was gunned down on Dec. 1 around 11:30 p.m. as he opened his garage door to head to work. Police believe either Rodriguez or Hawkins were "lying in wait" and shot Paet multiple times.

Paet later died from the gunshot wounds at a nearby hospital.

According to police, Paet’s wife confessed to planning her husband’s death with the three other conspirators to cash in his life insurance policy.

Paet’s wife and Rodriguez, who worked together, were allegedly having an affair and began planning Paet’s murder in October.

Mrs. Paet believed that she and Rodriguez would continue their romantic relationship after her husband’s death, police said.

On the night of Paet’s murder, police believe that text messages Mrs. Paet sent to Rodriguez minutes before Paet was shot were coded and indicated to Rodriguez precisely when Paet would be walking out of his garage.

In addition to Michelle Paet’s confession, a fifth person involved, whose identity is being protected, confessed to detectives about the entire plan to murder Paet.

Rodriguez told detectives that this fifth person, whom he referred to as an "ex-porn star" that he was "having sex" with on the night of the murder, was his alibi.

Sources say under Nevada law, if the murder suspects are convicted of a "contract killing," prosecutors could pursue the death penalty.

Mrs. Paet is being represented by Atty. Kristina Wildeveld. Wildeveld’s attorney profile in her website states that she is "responsible for many high-profile cases with great success."

She also spent eight years handling death penalty cases, her profile states, and is one of few Death Qualified attorneys in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Last week, hundreds gathered at the St. Francis Church in Yona, where Paet grew up, to pay last respects. Paet was laid to rest with full military honors.

The Paets had four children, all of whom are in the custody of the slain airman’s family.

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