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TX- Waco-area home searched in homicide investigation

1-17-2008 Texas:

Investigators found evidence at a China Spring home they say is connected to a murder-for-hire scheme planned by members of the motorcycle group Bikers Against Child Abuse.

Vera Elizabeth Guthrie-Nail, a 42-year-old China Spring native and Carrollton resident, was arrested Jan. 10 in the Dallas area on a criminal solicitation of murder charge in the death of her estranged 36-year-old husband, Craig Nail, said Sgt. Gerald Meadors, a Frisco, Texas, police spokesman. She was released from the Collin County Jail on Wednesday afternoon on a $100,000 bond, a jail spokesman said.

Nail was fatally shot at his Frisco home the day after Christmas, police said. Nail’s 38-year-old girlfriend, Therisa Hofman, who was shot in the arm and ear, survived, Meadors said.

McLennan County court records state that Guthrie-Nail told a friend that a gunman forced Nail to admit that he had molested a child, then fatally shot Nail in the head.

The biker group’s Web site states that the organization does not “condone the use of violence or physical force in any manner.” Organization representatives could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

On Tuesday, investigators in the case searched the China Spring home of one of Craig-Nail’s relatives in the 15900 block of Old China Spring Road. Craig-Nail grew up in the Waco-area community, and graduated from its high school in 1984, according to the McKinney Courier Gazette.

Officers found a .22-caliber pistol, a handgun magazine with live rounds, seven boxes of ammunition, marijuana and a “methamphetamine kit,” at the China Spring residence, according to McLennan County court records.

Investigators also seized from the home three cell phones, including a pay-as-you-go phone. Guthrie-Nail told a friend that phone was used for all communication in the murder plot, according to the returned search warrant affidavit filed in the McLennan County Courthouse.

Meadors declined to comment regarding possible additional pending arrests.

Guthrie-Nail told a friend, whose husband is a McLennan County sheriff’s lieutenant, that she gave her relative instructions to destroy one of the cell phones if police showed up at the house, according to court records.

Guthrie-Nail told the friend days after her husband’s death that she knew the shooting was going to happen, but did not hire anyone to kill her husband, the records said.

She told the friend she was associated with Bikers Against Child Abuse, and that a friend of hers who was also affiliated with the organization had contacted someone in California, also with the group, who had watched Craig Nail’s Frisco home for four months and planned the killing, the affidavit states.

Guthrie-Nail told the friend that it was supposed to look like a murder-suicide involving Nail and his girlfriend, records state.

Hofman told police that the man who fired at her and Nail was a 40-plus-year-old white man with salt-and-pepper hair and blue or green eyes.

She said he was wearing a dark-color hooded sweatshirt and carried a black baseball bat with a red bandana tied around it.

An arrest warrant affidavit quoted in the Denton Record-Chronicle states that Guthrie-Nail had also repeatedly asked her boyfriend to kill Nail.

The affidavit states that under the plan, Guthrie-Nail would “lure (her husband) to the house with a promise of sex and the chance to reconcile their marriage.” The affidavit goes on to state that she had planned that her boyfriend, who is no longer dating Guthrie-Nail, could “come into the house through the garage and kill (her husband) when he went upstairs.” ..more.. by Erin Quinn, Tribune-Herald staff writer

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