Houston man Leon Phillip Jacob, 40, a failed doctor, was nabbed in a sting by undercover officers after he tried to have his ex killed in Mar, 2016
Jacob and his veterinarian girlfriend, Valerie Busick McDaniel, 38, were charged last March with soliciting capital murder
They were accused of trying to arrange the deaths of McDaniel’s ex-husband, Mack McDaniel and Jacob’s ex-girlfriend, Meghan Verikas
Valerie McDaniel was in a custody battle with her ex-husband, Mack McDaniel, with whom she shared an eight-year-old daughter
The prominent Houston area veterinarian ended her part in the saga when she committed suicide by jumping from her highrise apt
Leon Jacob is on stand trial for solicitation of murder
Faces life in prison if convicted
The target: Meghan Verikas in a staged photo used to convince Leon Jacob he contracted hit had been executed
The ex-girlfriend allegedly targeted to be killed in an elaborate murder-for-hire scheme is expected to testify Wednesday in the trial of Leon Jacob, her ex-boyfriend who is on trial accused of masterminding a plot that also allegedly involved his then-girlfriend, a prominent Houston area veterinarian.
Meghan Verikas is expected to tell the jury about meeting Jacob, a struggling medical resident, while they were both living in Pittsburgh and following him to Houston, where his family lives.
Accused Leon Jacob [sitting] and his attorney George Parnham appear for trial in Houston court on Mar 19
Intended victim Meghan Verikas [left], and her ex-boyfriend Leon Jacob, [right], who is now on trial for hiring a hitman to kill her
The couple broke up in January 2017 and she filed charges of domestic violence and stalking against him. It was while he was free on bail on the stalking charge that he allegedly tried to hire an undercover officer posing as hitman to kidnap Verikas, and then kill her if she did not agree to leave Houston.
At the time Leon Jacob was dating Valerie Busick McDaniel, a prominent Houston area veterinarian. McDaniel was also arrested in the same scheme, accused of hiring the hitman to also kill her ex-husband, because she was going through a custody battle. McDaniel killed herself days after being arrested.
39-year-old boyfriend Leon Phillip Jacob, and his girlfriend, Valerie Busick McDaniel, 48, were arrested allegedly, after the had hired a hitman to kill their ex-partners. McDaniel was accused of conspiring to kill her ex-husband, Mack McDaniel, which whom she had an eight-year-old daughter
Houston couple, Valerie McDaniel and Leon Jacob, ‘paid undercover cop posing as a hit man $20,000 to murder their ex-spouses’
Meghan Verikas, the ex-girlfriend who was allegedly targeted to be killed in an elaborate murder-for-hire scheme testified Wednesday against Leon Jacob, her ex-boyfriend who is on trial, accused of buying the ‘hit’
Testimony in the murder-for-hire plot against Leon Jacob, the man accused of orchestrating a way hit last year, began Tuesday.
Houston area doctor Leon Jacob and his veterinarian girlfriend, Valerie McDaniel, were charged last March with soliciting capital murder after allegedly, trying to arrange the deaths of McDaniel’s ex-husband and Jacob’s ex-girlfriend. Investigators said Jacob and McDaniel offered $20,000 and two Cartier watches as payment for the hits.
Valerie McDaniel ended her part in the saga when she committed suicide by jumping from the River Oaks highrise where she lived.
The trial is expected to last at least a week.
During their opening statements Tuesday morning, prosecutors showed a photo that was staged to make it appear as if one target of the alleged murder plot was successfully killed.
They also showed a staged image of Meghan Verikas, the ex-girlfriend of Jacob.
In the image, Verikas was tied up, with tape across her mouth. Prosecutors said it appeared she was close to death, but defendant Leon Jacob did nothing to save her life.
Prosecutors said Jacob wanted her dead so she would not testify against him in a stalking trial she had filed against him.
“He’s guilty of solicitation of capital murder for both Meghan Verikas and Mack McDaniel, and at the end of this trial, we will ask you to reach that verdict,” prosecutor Cameron Calligan said.
The second target, Mack McDaniel, was in a custody battle with his ex-wife before she tried to have him killed
Jacob’s defense attorneys contends that the accused doctor did not want to hurt his ex-girlfriend. Instead, they said he wanted to spend his life with Verikas.
“He wanted to get back with Meghan, but his pleas of love went unanswered. She ignored him. She refused to take him back,” one defense attorney said.
The defense is in contradiction to the testimony of bail bondsman and Houston City Council Member Michael Kubosh who told the court that his then-client, Jacob, contacted him wanting the name of someone Jacob knew as “Zack.”
“To be honest with you, I felt like I was talking to the devil himself when he was talking to me. It’s just … he was so aggressive,” Kubosh said.
According to testimony, Jacob did eventually reach Motaz Azzeh, the man he knew as “Zack.”
Azzeh said Jacob paid him more than $10,000 in cash and jewelry to make sure that Verikas did not testify against him.
“He’s always been on the track of actually killing Meghan if it doesn’t go his way. Yes, he did actually propose the way to kill her. Potassium chloride to the heart. It was untraceable, those were his words,” Azzeh said.
Valerie Busick McDaniel and Leon Jacob. Valerie killed herself while Leon Jacob is on stand trial for solicitation of the murders in Dec 2017
Mack McDaniel in staged scene used in convincing Valerie he’d been killed
Verikas’ testimony will mark the third day of trial in state District Judge Jim Wallace’s court, which is expected to last a week.
If convicted of solicitation of capital murder, Jacob faces the possibility of life in prison.
Valerie’s daughter, the child in contention, inherited her estate and now lives with her father, Mack McDaniel.
Taz Azzeh accepted a plea deal in his theft case and is currently on probation. He hopes to become a Houston Police officer.