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Friday
Nov042011

Jury Begins Deliberations in Houston Murder-for-Hire Case

Comstock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- A Houston jury is now deliberating after days of tearful testimony in the trial of a man prosecutors say was hired to kill a millionaire attorney's socialite wife.

Damian Flores' fate hangs in the balance, after Michelle Gaiser told the jury how she arranged to have Houston socialite Yvonne Stern murdered in the parking lot of her apartment building.  Gaiser said that she gave Flores $15,000 as a down payment on the hit.

In court, prosecutors painted Flores as a cold-blooded killer.

"Damian Flores doesn't look the part.  Damian Flores is the part," attorney for the prosecution Justin Keiter said.

Yvonne Stern testified Monday that when he approached her while she sat in her car she begged Flores for her life, but that he took a few steps away, turned around, and fired through the glass.

"He had the opportunity to not kill her," prosecutor Kari Allen said. "But what did he do?  He turned around, he bit his lip and he pulled the trigger."

Gaiser admitted to the jury she told Flores where Stern lived, what type of car she drove and when she would be alone.

"He was supposed to go over and wait for Yvonne and do the job -- shoot Yvonne," Gaiser said.

In exchange for her dramatic testimony, Gaiser made a deal with prosecutors in which pleading guilty to solicitation of capital murder led to a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

Gaiser is also expected to testify against Jeffrey Stern when he stands trial in a few months, stating that the two conspired to hire Flores to kill his wife.

Jeffrey Stern maintains his innocence, as does his wife, who had started divorce proceedings, citing adultery, but later changed her mind and reconciled with him.

Though the jury could return with a verdict as soon as Friday in Flores' case, the couple will not know its fate until next year.  Jeffrey Stern's trial is scheduled for February, and Yvonne, his alleged victim, vows she'll be right by his side.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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