A man who was convicted of stabbing his wife to death in a suburban Chicago parking lot has been convicted of a further crime: trying to take out hits on witnesses in the case against him.
While awaiting his trial, Clarence Weber apparently approached fellow inmate Jerome Daniels to arrange for the murder of two of the prosecution's star witnesses against Weber. But, according to TribLocal, Daniels instead went to his attorney and asked to make a deal in exchange for turning on Weber.
Daniels wore a wire to his next meeting with Weber, and recorded him arranging a $10,000 payment in exchange for the witnesses "going on vacation." At one point, he is heard saying, "I just want to know they are going to disappear."
According to an ABC report from the time of the crime, Weber had served six years in the early '90s in Florida for the attempted murder of his first wife. When his relationship with his second wife Adelina began to sour in 2008, she sought police protection against him. Though she was granted an order of protection, her family felt their concerns were being ignored by the Waukegan Police Department.
On July 5, 2008, he persuaded his estranged wife to meet him in the parking lot in a hotel in nearby Lincolnshire, close to her job. He stabbed her in the neck, killing her, then fled to Indiana, where he was detained by authorities three days later.
One of the witnesses who he tried to kill, according to the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, was Yugi Tamura, who saw the Webers arguing in the hotel parking lot just moments before she was stabbed. The other was Martha Bautista, a former co-worker of Adelina's who was preparing to testify that Clarence had left his wife a note asking to meet her in the hotel parking lot.
The Daily Herald reports that prosecutors argued Weber's intention in the taped conversations was clear.
“When the defendant is talking about a vacation for the witnesses, he is not suggesting a trip to Disney World,” prosecutor Eric Kalata said in his closing argument. “When he says these people should disappear, he is not proposing they join a magic club.”
Weber was convicted of soliciting murder on Monday, and will see 20 to 40 years added to his current 55-year sentence. Daniels, who wore the wire, was serving a five-year term on a theft charge, was re-sentenced to time already served.