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Fire Captain Pleads Not Guilty in Plot to Kill Ex-Wife

April 13, 1999

WEST COVINA — A Los Angeles County fire captain pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he plotted to have his ex-wife killed after a nasty divorce battle that included a mysterious house fire.

Gary L. Sizemore, 43, who is charged with one count of soliciting murder, made a brief appearance in Citrus Municipal Court. He is being held on $1-million bail pending a preliminary hearing April 23.

Sizemore was arrested April 7 on charges of trying to hire a man, identified by authorities as his cousin, Mark Tatum, to kill Judith Elizabeth Sizemore, 43, last November. The relationship between the two has been compared by authorities to that of the feuding couple in the movie "The War of the Roses."

An attorney for Gary Sizemore told Judge Mark Nelson he believes Tatum and other witnesses will not be able to verify Gary Sizemore's involvement.

He was arrested after an investigation by the Glendora police and the district attorney's office.

The Sizemores, who were married for 17 years, were familiar to Monrovia police, officials said. In 1997, Monrovia detectives investigated a fire set under Judith Sizemore's bed that ignited hours before the couple were to appear in court for a lawsuit she brought against her husband. No one was arrested in that investigation, police said.

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