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10-Year Term in Cheerleader Death Scheme

September 10, 1996| From Associated Press

HOUSTON — Wanda Webb Holloway, who offered her diamond earrings in a murder-for-hire plot aimed at getting her daughter on the junior high cheerleading squad, was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday.

Holloway, portrayed as a vindictive stage mother at her 1991 trial and in two subsequent TV movies, pleaded no contest to murder solicitation and was sentenced by District Judge George Godwin.

Defense attorney Jack Zimmerman said she can apply for release in as little as six months, though prosecutors said they would fight such a request.

Holloway plotted to have Verna Heath murdered by a hit man, hoping the death would upset Heath's daughter, Amber, so much that the girl wouldn't make the cheerleading team, police said. That, in turn, would improve Holloway's daughter's chances of making the squad.

During Holloway's trial, jurors heard secretly recorded tapes of her asking her former brother-in-law, Terry Harper, to hire a hit man. Prosecutors said she gave him the earrings and promised to pay cash within a month.

"You want her dead?" Harper asked.

"I don't care what you do with her. You can keep her in Cuba for 15 years," she replied. "I want her gone."

Holloway was convicted of solicitation of murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. She won a new trial, however, after it was learned that a juror was on probation and should have been disqualified from serving.

Two years ago, Holloway agreed to pay $150,000 to Heath and her family to settle a lawsuit accusing Holloway of causing the Heaths extreme anguish.

The Heaths said they were satisfied with the sentence.

"I've always wanted to see Wanda Holloway show some remorse, which she never has. I think her only regret is getting caught," Verna Heath said.

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