Federal Grand Jury Indicts Mother and Daughter in Murder-for-Hire Scheme

BIRMINGHAM—A federal grand jury today indicted a mother and daughter from Shelby County for conspiring in a 2009 murder-for-hire plot against the daughter’s ex-husband, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley.

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court, charges KIMBERLY DAWN McGUFFIE, 43, of Calera, and BARBARA LOUISE PATTERSON, 63, of Columbiana, with conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire. It also charges McGuffie with the underlying offense of murder-for-hire. According to the indictment, McGuffie promised to pay a man $1,000 to kill her former spouse.

“It is horrifying that a mother and daughter would plot murder because the daughter wants to regain custody of her children,” Vance said. “Thankfully, this murder didn’t happen because an informant turned to law enforcement for help, and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, and the FBI came together to foil the crime and catch the perpetrators.”

According to the indictment, Patterson and Kimberly McGuffie devised a plan to hire someone to kill McGuffie’s ex-husband with a poison cocktail of prescription medication supplied, in part, by Patterson. They attempted to carry out the plan as follows, according to the indictment:

In mid-July, 2009, Kimberly McGuffie first called an acquaintance and asked for his assistance in murdering her former spouse. She later met the man in person to discuss her plan. On July 23, 2009, her mother called her (Patterson’s) doctor’s office, requested a prescription for Lexapro, a medication used to treat depression, and picked up 14 sample tablets of the drug, which she gave to her daughter.

In August, Kimberly McGuffie and Patterson drove to a location near Columbiana to meet and again try to enlist the assistance of the man they wanted to help them kill the ex-husband.

On Sept. 8, 2009, that man, who became a confidential informant to police, told Kimberly McGuffie in a telephone call that he had found someone to do the job and would introduce her to him that night. After the phone call, Kimberly McGuffie drove to the town of Shelby and bought methadone pills, which she added to her deadly cocktail.

Later that evening, McGuffie drove to a shopping center parking lot in Calera where she met the confidential informant and an undercover officer posing as Norman Wilson, the “hit man.” She gave Wilson a small bag containing Lexapro, methadone, and Xanax and a key and a hand-drawn map to her ex-husband’s home. She also wrote him a $1,000 check to cement her agreement to pay him for the murder.

This case was investigated by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, and the FBI, and will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William G. Simpson.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.