Jurors review video of suspected hit man meeting

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Nov. 20, 2013 at 5:20 a.m.
Updated Nov. 21, 2013 at 5:21 a.m.

Jurors watched a video Wednesday that showed a blonde woman climbing into an undercover Department of Public Safety agent's truck behind an abandoned building in Victoria.

Kerstin Preis Jones, a Placedo woman on trial and charged with criminal solicitation of capital murder, is shown handing the agent, Jose Ramirez, multiple pictures.

They were pictures of her husband's nurse and mistress, Yvette Garcia.

Then, she placed $2,000 on the vehicle's center console.

Although their conversation is at times hard to hear with the truck's engine idling, Ramirez testified he understood she wanted him to kill Garcia.

And about 45 minutes later, the two are seen meeting again, this time, at a different location, where she tries to give him pills and a gun wrapped in a white blanket.

Jones, 46, was arrested May 2, 2012.

Jurors were allowed to read a transcript of the tapes as they were played.

Jones' attorney, John Urquhart, of Houston, tried to prove his client hired the pretend hit man because she was coerced.

Through his questioning, he attempted to show jurors that the man who tipped off the DPS about Jones, Marcus Jackson, did so because it meant his criminal case would be dismissed.

Urquhart also tried to prove Jackson threatened Jones or gave her the impression that she was indebted to him for connecting her with someone who would introduce her to a hit man.

But Jackson never wavered about his intentions.

"She (Jones) put herself in that situation. ... I was working toward my dismissal with or without her," he said.

Jackson said he gave Jones opportunities to back out or do something less drastic to Garcia, who, Jones said repeatedly, was scaring her kids, assaulting her and sabotaging her ranch on U.S. Highway 87.

Jackson said the comments Urquhart thought were coercive were made to ensure Jones was serious about hiring a hit man.

"If you're going to squeal on him, you're not going to have a family left," Jackson is heard saying in another tape.

"I'm not worried," Jones replied.

While Jones does not say "murder" in the tapes, she is heard discussing Garcia with at least two other undercover DPS agents. She told one of the undercover DPS agents, who also posed as a hit man, "I want her (Garcia) out of the way."

Jones is also charged with manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance between 200 and 400 grams.

The state called Sharla McCloskey, a forensic scientist who works at the DPS lab in Corpus Christi.

McCloskey tested Jones' pills and found that there were 134.56 grams of oxycodone.

Local attorney James Beeler is assisting with the defense.

The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday before Judge Skipper Koetter.



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