Houston Police Officer Sentenced to 5 Years in Murder For Hire Case

Houston police officer Clarence McNatt

Ex-Houston police officer Clarence McNatt has been sentenced to five years in prison after his conviction earlier this week for hiring two men to kidnap and rape his estranged wife.

McNatt, 64, was found guilty Thursday of two counts of soliciting the supposed hitmen — who turned out to be undercover police officers — but the jury did not find him guilty of having her killed

The state court jury, after a four-day trial, found McNatt not guilty of the more serious crime of solicitation of capital murder, a crime that could have resulted in a maximum life sentence. Instead, the jury convicted him of a lesser offense and set his punishment at five years in state prison and 10 years of probation.

“I was hoping they would find him guilty of all three, but I respect the jury’s verdict,” said Assistant Harris County District Attorney Samantha Knecht.

McNatt’s attorney, Tommy LaFon, had maintained that the former peace officer was not trying to have anyone killed but wanted the two men to scare his former wife into leaving town.

“The solicitation of capital murder case just didn’t happen,” LaFon said earlier this week.

McNatt, who was a Houston police officer in the 1980s, was fired after being disciplined for violating rules about taking outside work.

He has been jail since his November 2016 arrest, after undercover officers recorded him as he negotiated with them to abduct and sexually assault his estranged wife and a female co-worker, who was helping her get out of the marriage.

A neighbor whom McNatt talked to about to finding someone to interrogate and torture the two women contacted police. Days later, McNatt offered to pay two undercover officers from the Pasadena police department $500 to kidnap and assault the two women.

Prosecutors argued in court that McNatt wanted the two women killed, but jurors apparently decided he just wanted them beat up and then raped. He was convicted of two counts of solicitation of aggravated kidnapping with intent to commit sexual assault, prosecutors confirmed.

The trial, before visiting state District Judge Reagan Clark, was held in a substituted courtroom in Houston’s federal dourthouse because the Harris County Criminal Justice Center remains shuttered after being damaged in Hurricane Harvey.

Source: https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Former-HPD-officer-sentenced-in-murder-for-hire-12869473.php