Mistress takes stand in murder-for-hire trial
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Yvonne Stern, the wife of a prominent attorney from Bellaire, survived attempts on her life. Now her husband's mistress took the stand and she admitted she hired the gunman.
It was a dramatic day as Michelle Gaiser spent hours on the witness stand. She was the only witness called for all of Tuesday.
There was as a non-stop flow of tears from Gaiser. She cried from the moment prosecutors began to ask her about the case. She sobbed deeply when asked by the prosecution about the plot to kill Yvonne Stern.
"I made a horrible mistake," Gaiser testified through the tears. "There isn't a day that goes by that I don't regret what I did. I'm very ashamed of what I've done. ... I feel bad for her and the people I've hurt because of my actions -- her (Yvonne) and her kids mostly, and my family."
Gaiser, say prosecutors, was having an affair with prominent Bellaire attorney Jeffrey Stern. Both are accused of plotting to kill Stern's wife, Yvonne. On Tuesday, Gaiser admitted she hired Damian Flores to kill Yvonne after two other attempts by two other hit men failed.
The prosecution asked Gaiser, "How did you approach Damian Flores about killing Yvonne Stern?"
Gaiser answered, "One day I asked him. He said yes, that he would do that kind of job."
Gaiser said Flores was someone she knew from her job at a legal office. She testified she paid Flores $15,000 upfront money for the hit. Flores is accused of shooting Yvonne in the stomach last year. However, the defense says Gaiser is using Flores as the fall guy.
Defense attorney Sam Cammack said, "She's saving her own butt, right? She's facing life in prison so she's got to come up with something."
In the hallway, we saw Gaiser's sister. She didn't give her name but says she is heartbroken.
She told us, "That's why I came. I didn't come for any other reason. I can't watch it. I just wanted to be in the same room without a glass between us."
Gaiser's testimony is the condition of a plea deal. She has agreed to a charge of solicitation of capital murder and no more than 25 years in prison.
local, cynthia cisneros
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