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Triggerman guilty in Lithia slaying

From staff reports
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 11:06 PM
TAMPA -

The triggerman hired to murder a Lithia man five years ago faces life in prison after being convicted of federal charges.

Angel Lopez, 24, was convicted Friday after the woman who hired him to kill her husband pleaded guilty and testified against him, according to court records.

Christie Fay Bottorff, 33, and her new husband, Jerry Bottorff, 42, pleaded guilty last month in the June 7, 2007, shooting death of Thomas Lee Sehorne, 37.

After the killing, the victim's widow received $1 million in life insurance proceeds.

The killing went unsolved nearly four years after Christie Bottorff, then known as Christie Fay Sehorne, called 911 to report finding her estranged husband's body near her door.

The Sehornes were married about eight years and had two children, a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter, when Thomas Sehorne was killed.

Less than two years after the killing, the widow married Jerry Bottorff and the couple settled in Brandon, according to Hillsborough County records. They were arrested last year and charged with murder-for-hire in Sehorne's shooting.

While her husband was away, Christie Sehorne began a relationship with Jerry Bottorff, authorities said.

The pair approached a former member of the Latin Kings gang, Michael A. Garcia, about having someone killed, authorities said. Garcia later pleaded guilty to using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire and conspiracy. Garcia agreed to cooperate with authorities.

The couple agreed to pay $60,000 for the murder with a portion of the life insurance, according to court records.

Garcia reached out to Lopez, and the two men went to the Sehorne house the night of the killing and waited for him to arrive, officials said. When Sehorne got out of his truck, Lopez shot him first in the chest and then in the head, officials said.

Garcia also testified against Lopez, according to court records.

The Bottorffs and Lopez are scheduled to be sentenced in October. The docket does not list a sentencing date for Garcia, who is incarcerated on unrelated drug charges.

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