Grandmother in murder-for-hire plot going to mental facility - KOAM TV 7

Grandmother in murder-for-hire plot going to mental health facility

Thornberry, Gayle Thornberry, Gayle

Updated March 2, 2011 at 4:30 PM CST:  A woman accused in a murder-for-hire plot will go to a mental health facility instead of going to trial.

Gayle Thornberry of Joplin is accused of trying to hire someone to kill the woman who adopted her grandchildren.  She is charged in Newton County with attempted murder.

Thornberry's attorney filed a motion to find her incompetent.  Prosecutors did not oppose the motion.

The court has ordered her committed to the Department of Mental Health and her case will be reviewed in approximately six months.

Updated February 14, 2011 at 2:45 PM CST:  Court documents say an investigation into a conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping has resulted in the arrest of Gayle J. Thornberry of Joplin, Missouri.

The probable cause affidavit filed in Newton County says Thornberry planned to murder the adoptive mother of her grandchildren.  Investigators say Thornberry discussed:

  • getting an insurance policy on the adoptive mother to pay for a firearm
  • cutting the brake lines on the adoptive mother's vehicle
  • obtaining a Taser to subdue the adoptive mother, then injecting her with Methamphetamine
  • kidnapping the adoptive mother's biological child and selling it.

Thornberry was turned into police by her daughter after learning of the plot.  An undercover agent helped assist in the investigation.

Posted February 14, 2011 at 1:37 PM CST:  Gayle J. Thornberry of Joplin is arrested for conspiracy to commit first degree murder.

After receiving a tip, the Joplin police arrested Thornberry after she tried to obtain a firearm to help her murder a Webb City woman.

Thornberry was arrested Saturday and remains in custody on $500,000 bond.

Complete news release issued by Joplin Police Department

On February 12th, 2011, Officers with the Joplin Police Department arrested Gayle J. Thornberry (11/13/65) for conspiracy to commit first degree murder. She was arrested without incident at her residence at the Capri Motel in Joplin.

On February 6th, 2011, the Joplin Police Department received a report of an individual seeking to hire someone to assist her with the murder of a Webb City woman. With the assistance of an undercover agent, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement office of Homeland Security Investigations, Thornberry attempted to obtain a firearm to assist her with the murder of the Webb City woman.

The case was investigated by detectives with the Joplin Police Department, assigned to the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force and agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement office of Homeland Security Investigations.

Thornberry is currently being held at the Newton County Jail in lieu of $500,000.00 bond.

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