SANTA ANA — With tears streaming down her face, a woman accused of plotting to kill her husband for his life insurance testified Thursday that she had been manipulated by a man who wanted to get a share of that money for a sex-change operation.
Margo Thibault-Lemke, 41, formerly of Tustin, testified that David Lamb, the man she knew as a woman named Jan Lamb, wanted to kill attorney Richard Thibault for a share of the insurance money "to finish his sex change."
"She wanted me to go along with killing my husband," Thibault-Lemke testified of Lamb. "She threatened me and my family. . . . If I didn't do what she wanted she said she would go to the FBI."
Lamb, 35, of Denver, did, in fact, go to authorities in early 1988 and told them that he was one of four men hired by Thibault-Lemke to kill her husband. He agreed to telephone Thibault-Lemke and talk to her about the alleged scheme so authorities could record the conversation for evidence.
As a result of the investigation, a federal grand jury indicted Thibault-Lemke and her then-boyfriend, William E. Lemke, 41, on charges that include conspiracy and use of interstate facilities in the commission of murder for hire. The two have since married and moved to Wisconsin.
Prosecutors granted immunity to all four of the alleged hired killers in exchange for their testimony against the couple. The four men, including one who is the half-brother of Thibault-Lemke, testified that they were separately offered $10,000 to kill Thibault. None of four attempts on his life succeeded.
Also introduced into evidence were two insurance policies totaling $300,000 which were filled out in Thibault's name by his wife--from whom he had separated--making her the beneficiary.
During her testimony Thursday, Thibault-Lemke said that she often handled her husband's policies and had been instructed by him to fill them out. Thibault testified earlier in the trial that he had told her no such thing.
Thibault-Lemke also testified that she had no intention of killing her husband and was only telling Lamb she would because he was threatening to kill her mother and other members of her family if she didn't agree to the plan.
She said that she was actually trying to stall Lamb and prevent him from following through with the murder when she was arrested.
"I was trying to do everything in my power to stop him."
Lemke also took the stand Thursday and said that he had no part in any plan to kill Thibault. He said that all the talk he heard about murdering the attorney came from the alleged hired killers.
Defense attorneys throughout the trial attempted to impeach the characters of the four men, all of whom admitted to using drugs. All but one had a criminal record.