Woman sentenced to nine years for conspiring in murder-for-hire scheme

Published 2:06 pm Friday, June 8, 2012


A federal judge sentenced a Columbiana woman to nine years in prison for conspiring with her daughter to hire someone to kill the daughter’s ex-husband, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Maley June 7.

U.S. District Judge Abdul K. Kallon sentenced Barbara Louise Patterson, 64, for plotting the murder-for-hire with her daughter, Kimberly Dawn McGuffie, in 2009 so that McGuffie could get custody of two children, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The plan was to hire someone to murder Patterson’s former son-in-law with a poison cocktail of prescription medication supplied, in part, by Patterson. The judge ordered Patterson to be taken immediately into custody, the release stated.

According to the release, a federal jury convicted Patterson of the conspiracy in February. McGuffie, 44, of Calera, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy in December and admitted she had conspired with her mother in the murder-for-hire scheme. McGuffie did not testify in her mother’s trial. Judge Kallon sentenced McGuffie in May to 10 years in prison.

The jury found that Patterson supplied her daughter with Lexapro tablets. According to testimony, Patterson called her doctor’s office on July 23, 2009, requested a prescription for Lexapro and picked up 14 sample tablets, which she gave to her daughter, according to the release.

According to court testimony, McGuffie and Patterson drove to a location near Columbiana in August 2009 to meet an acquaintance and again try to enlist him to help them kill the ex-husband. On Sept. 8, 2009, the man, who had become a confidential informant to police, told McGuffie he had found someone to do the job and would introduce her to him that night, according to the release.

Later that evening, McGuffie drove to Calera where she met an undercover officer posing as the hit man. She gave the hit man a bag containing Lexapro, methadone and Xanax, plus a key and a map to her ex-husband’s home. She also wrote the man a $1,000 check to cement her agreement to pay him for the murder, according to the release.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and the FBI investigated the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William G. Simpson.