A Largo, Florida man has pled no contest to a charge that he hired someone to murder his estranged wife.
The man accepted the open plea on Friday, according to the Miami Herald.
The 53-year-old central Florida man allegedly met with a tipster and an undercover detective in 2009 to arrange the murder. According to the Pinellas County Sherriff’s Office, the man requested his wife’s death involve a car accident.
The man’s son was seriously injured in a car crash involving the son of wrestler Hulk Hogan, Nick Bollea, in 2007.
Under Florida state guidelines, this man could be sentenced to as few as 6.4 years in prison or as much as 40 years in prison. The fact that he made an open plea means that he had no agreement with State prosecutors about his sentence. Pleading “no contest” for a criminal charge is not an admission of guilt, this just means the defendant is choosing not to challenge the charge. For sentencing purposes, a plea of no contest and guilty are treated the same. The court does not change a sentence or punishment of a crime because a defendant pleads no contest instead of guilty on a criminal charge.
A plea of no contest is viewed differently when a victim sues a defendant in a civil lawsuit. If this man’s wife chooses to sue for damages in civil court, there is no evidence of his liability in the case because he entered a plea of “no contest.” If he had pled guilty, then there would be sufficient evidence of his liability in the matter.