Woman gets 15 years after pleading guilty to solicitation to murder


by Brooke Hasch


Posted on May 28, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Updated Thursday, May 29 at 6:55 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A Louisville woman charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill her ex-husband and his new wife was sentenced in court Wednesday to 15 years in prison and fined $1,000.

Elizabeth Stakelbeck, 35, pleaded guilty back in March to solicitation to murder and drug charges.

Prosecutors said last August, Stakelbeck unknowingly tried to hire an undercover FBI agent to commit the killings. Officials said she gave him $2,000 in cash and prescription pills as payment to kill Matt Vaughn and his new wife, Morgan.

A recorded sting operation with that FBI agent detailed how Stakelbeck wanted the murders to occur, taking place in the same home as the couple’s six month old baby and Stakelback’s 7-year-old daughter, whom she shared with Vaughn.

"She planned to have Calloway in her crib, while my husband and I were murdered across the hall. What would have happened to my baby?" Morgan Vaughn said.

Stakelbeck said during a tearful apology in court, “I lost my humanity. I did something awful. I wish I could take it back. I was in a nightmare.”

Her mother and brother also spoke before the judge asking for mercy.

“I’ll love you forever,” Stakelbeck’s mother said.

"Instead of relief and closure I've been filled with anxiety and nervous anticipation. This victimization has taught me to fear the next hurdle as I clear the current one,” Matt Vaughn said.

"I think it was very powerful when you hear things like that. I think the judge understood that the victims of this crime will be affected the rest of their life. In a way it's a life sentence and sending her to prison for a short time. I think it's more than justified. I think the judge agreed,” Leland Hulbert, the Commonwealth’s attorney said.

Stakelbeck received 15 years for the solicitation to murder, including the 9 months already served. She was also sentenced to five years for trafficking of a controlled substance, which she’ll serve concurrently.