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Judge rejects guilty plea for fourth suspect in murder-for-hire

A Boone County judge turned down the guilty plea of the fourth person police connected to a murder-for-hire scheme in Columbia.

27-year-old Christopher Hurt took the stand Wednesday afternoon to plead guilty to hindering prosecution and possession of a controlled substance. Hurt was accused of providing a false alibi for James Thompson, who a jury found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Brian Daniels in south Columbia.

Judge Christine Carpenter questioned whether Hurt truly thought he was guilty of the felony crime of hindering prosecution by purposefully lying to Columbia police. While on the stand, Hurt told Judge Christine Carpenter he did not intentionally lie to investigators when they asked him about Thompson’s whereabouts on April 9, the night Daniels was shot in his home on Cimarron Drive in April 2013.

After that exchange, Judge Carpenter told Hurt she found no “factual basis” for his guilty plea, and instead pushed it back for a trial setting at a later date.

Three other defendants connected to Daniels’ murder all had court cases resolved in 2015. Thompson was found guilty in January for planning the death of his friend and alleged lover. Thompson paid his childhood friend Casey Lewis to come from Oklahoma and commit the murder, shooting Daniels. A jury found Lewis guilty of murder in April. Both men received life sentences in prison.

Glenn Anderson, who testified against Thompson and Lewis at their trials, pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution in June. Judge Carpenter gave him five years probation, after his attorney pointed out his cooperation in the state’s investigation to convict the two others.

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