UTAH STATE PRISON — A woman sentenced to prison for trying to hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband in order to get custody of their children and a million-dollar life insurance payout says she doesn't remember ever having that conversation.
"Ma’am, I do not recall ever saying anything like that. At the time, I’ll be honest with you, I had tried bath salts. And I apologize if I did say something. I really do not recall saying anything about that,” Billie Jo Agee told Board of Pardons and Parole member Cathy Crawford in a recording of her recent parole hearing.
In July, Agee, 46, was sentenced to up to five years in prison after pleading no contest to one count of criminal solicitation, a third-degree felony. Court documents note that the woman has "a significant mental illness."
Agee was convicted of trying to hire her estranged second husband to kill her husband from her first marriage so she could have custody of their children and collect the proceeds of his $1 million life insurance policy, according to court documents.
At her recent parole hearing, Agee said she had been placed on several medications since being incarcerated to help her with her mental illnesses. But her statements to Crawford during the hearing went from claiming her estranged husband made up the hitman story, to not remembering what she said because of drugs, that she hallucinated because of the drugs, and that she smoked bath salts unintentionally believing it was meth.
Agee's first husband, who was the target of the alleged scheme, also addressed Crawford during the hearing. He said while the alleged plot had been hard on his family, particularly his children, he wasn't as concerned about his ex-wife serving a lot of prison time, as he was interested in making sure she got the help she needed.
"When she’s not in her right mind, which lately hasn’t been for years, it’s a scary thing,” the former husband said. "If she can get the help she needs while she’s here, then that would be terrific."Comment on this story
For the first 12 years of their marriage, he said Agee was the "best mom." There are still pictures hanging on his wall at home of his ex-wife and their children during those years.
"It's hard to see where she went from to where she is now,” the ex-husband said.
Crawford told Agee it was likely the full board would order an updated mental health evaluation be done before deciding whether to grant parole. But once parole is granted, Crawford cautioned Agee that it was imperative that stay compliant in taking her medications and not attempt to self-medicate.