Mississippi hit man hired by woman whose 3 husbands all died convicted in 2nd spouse's killing

 

 

NEW ORLEANS  A Mississippi hit man who authorities said was hired by a woman whose three husbands have all died under unusual circumstances has been convicted of second-degree murder in her second spouse's shooting.

Alfred "Terry" Everette was convicted of killing Ernest Smith, 38, in 2006, at the behest of Smith's wife, 50-year-old Emma Raine. She has pleaded not guilty in the case and is awaiting trial in March on a second-degree murder charge.

Smith, a New Orleans preacher, was the second of Raine's three husbands.

She has been charged only in Smith's death, but a prosecutor made it clear that the other two deaths were suspicious.

"Her main source of income was killing husbands," said Assistant District Attorney Laura Rodrigue, who prosecuted the case with her father, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

Emma Raine's third husband, James Raine, 37, was shot in their Pearl River, Mississippi, home in 2011. News reports at the time said police were investigating the shooting as a homicide, and that Emma Raine had been out of town at the time.

Her first husband, Leroy Evans, was run over by a car in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and then choked to death in his sleep about a year later, in 1994, after his feeding tube was removed.

Complicating the case: James Raine has been implicated posthumously in Ernest Smith's death.

Prosecutors say James was Emma's boyfriend while she was married to Smith. He also was the foster brother of hit man Everette. Authorities says James Raine had promised Everette up to $100,000 from an $800,000 expected life insurance payment to kill Smith, who was shot outside his New Orleans home.

During the trial, a foster brother, Enoch Raine, and two uncles, William and Henry Fowler, all testified that Everette admitted killing Smith when they confronted him two days after James Raine was fatally shot, The New Orleans Advocate (http://bit.ly/1yn7vE8) reported.

Everette's defense attorneys, Michael Kennedy and Tanzanika Ruffin, attacked the credibility of Raine's relatives, saying they hoped to benefit from his life insurance policy, Nola.com ' The Times-Picayune (http://bit.ly/15SHNvw) reported.

"If James' policy isn't paid to Emma, who gets the money? Ruffin asked the jurors. "The family does, don't they? Of course they do."

Outside the courtroom, the relatives denied Ruffin's allegations.

"It was never about money," said Enoch Raine, a Mississippi firefighter.

"Emma and Terry need to be brought to justice for this," said William Fowler. "It has messed with our family. We wanted justice for this. We also wanted justice for James."

 

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