INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- The victim in a murder-for-hire plot spoke with FOX 4 about the hit on him allegedly planned by a family member. Police say a grandmother took a hit out on her ex-son-in-law so she could get custody of his children.
Police say it happened in the parking lot of an Independence library. Teresa Owen, 61, is accused of hiring a hit man to kill her ex-son-in-law. Lucky for Brian Hoyt, the hit man was an undercover cop.
"I don't who how to describe it. It's been, it's just been nerve racking,” Hoyt said.
Hoyt told FOX 4 he feels lucky that the man Owen approached to kill him went to the police instead.
"An officer called me later that afternoon and said, ‘hey look, you probably should watch your back and we are going to take care of this, it appears that she's trying to hit you,’” Hoyt recalled.
He believes Owen planned the hit because of a custody dispute he was having with the Owens family, although things had gotten better, and Hoyt was letting her see her grandchildren on a limited basis. In fact, they had a planned visitation at Owen’s scrapbooking shop in Independence on the same day Hoyt found out she wanted him dead.
"I took the kids to her store less than two hours after I found out,” Hoyt said. "I just knew I had to, otherwise the sting wouldn't go off, you know nothing would come of it. I figured if I backed out, you know, she might be scared, so I just did it."
Over the next couple of weeks, police conducted a sting operation; an undercover detective posed as a hit man and met with Owen twice, agreeing to a $700 bounty if the hit man would take care of Owen’s request to have Hoyt “gone and never to return.”
"And you can't believe the level of paranoia that goes along with that. I leave early in the morning, ain't nobody out there, and you know, wondering if somebody's out there, it's dark," Hoyt said.
Owen’s reported history made the ordeal especially scary for Hoyt.
"She has a history of this kind of behavior and asking for these types of things to be done,” he explained.
In the mid-90's he says she asked him to kill her husband. No one believed it was a credible threat, so police dropped that investigation. Because of that, Hoyt’s level of paranoia grew until two uniformed police officers showed up at his door June 18.
"They said that they arrested her, that she had definitely contracted it, and that they had it all on tape, that they has the evidence and it was done,” he said. "I want her to so the time that she deserves to do. I want to see it be over and us not have to worry about what is going on.
If Owen is convicted she could spend 10 years in federal prison, and may also be ordered to pay a $250,000 fine.