A Cleveland woman was convicted Friday of masterminding the death of her firefighter husband so she could collect insurance money.
According to Cleveland.com, jurors took less than two hours to find 45-year-old Uloma Curry-Walker guilty of aggravated murder, assault and conspiracy in the 2013 killing of her spouse, William Walker.
The jury returned with the verdict on what would have been the four-year anniversary of the couple’s relationship, although they had been married for just four months at the time of the slaying.
Curry-Walker cried when the verdict was read, but otherwise showed little emotion during the two-week trial, Cleveland.com reports.
According to prosecutors, Curry-Walker made a $1,000 down payment to her daughter’s boyfriend to arrange the death. The boyfriend then worked with two other men to carry out the plot, which required two takes after the first attempt failed.
Curry-Walker’s daughter, her boyfriend and the two others all pleaded guilty and agreed to testify that Curry-Walker was behind the plan.
Prosecutors claimed that Curry-Walker wanted her husband dead because she was drowning in thousands of dollars of debt and thought she could collect on his $100,000 life insurance policy.
The conspiracy unfolded on the night of Nov. 3, 2013, when Curry-Walker sent her husband to get dinner from McDonald’s. When he returned, the husband was shot four times as he sought to unlock a door, according to police.
Curry-Walker later called 911 and said her husband had been shot in their driveway.
Questions began to emerge within minutes of the shooting.
For instance, one emergency responder reportedly testified that Curry-Walker did not have any blood on her shirt at the scene, prompting Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Blaise Thomas to wonder why.
“Is it reasonable to expect that a loving wife is going to be there, cradling her fatally shot husband?” Thomas said, according to the news report.
Cellphone records also show that Curry-Walker and others involved in the plot exchanged calls and text messages just before the killing.
Curry-Walker’s daughter, who was 17 at the time of the slaying, revealed to investigators that her mother wanted to make the shooting look like a robbery gone awry. Curry-Walker told the daughter’s boyfriend, Chad Padgett, to pull the husband’s pockets out of his pants.
The daughter also said that her mother claimed “no one would believe I would hire a bunch of kids to kill someone when I know people that could.”
After police had flipped the daughter and the others involved in the death, Curry-Walker wrote a purported confession letter in which she asserted that her husband had abused her.
The prosecution rebutted that claim, noting that there was no record of domestic violence by the husband. Curry-Walker’s lawyers also did not introduce any evidence to support the abuse allegation.
Rather, a defense attorney for Curry-Walker suggested to the jury in closing arguments that the daughter was really behind the killing because she was not allowed to go on a vacation to Ireland.
Curry-Walker is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 8.
Padgett has agreed to serve 28 years in prison, while the other men involved in the killing will also serve significant prison time.
The daughter, whom prosecutors did not charge as an adult, will serve a month in juvenile detention later this year.
Feature photo: Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office