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1 suspect in Hallsville murder-for-hire plot free on bond

By Sarah Thomas sthomas@news-journal.com
Oct. 21, 2013 at 10 p.m.


One of two Longview women arrested earlier this year and charged with hiring a hit man to kill a Hallsville police officer is free on bond, according to the Harrison County District Attorney's Office.

Sydney Brook Sides, 18, was released on pretrial bond shortly after her arrest in May, according to Harrison County Jail records.

Sides and 24-year-old Amanda Denise Smith were arrested in May after the pair solicited the murder of Smith's estranged husband in order to collect his life insurance policy.

Sides' bond was originally set at $200,000 and was later reduced to $100,000, according to jail records.

Harrison County District Attorney Coke Solomon approved Sides' pretrial release, but said Monday he couldn't comment on the specifics of it.

The case against Sides is pending indictment, and Smith is awaiting trial, Solomon said.

A Harrison County grand jury indicted Smith for solicitation of commit capital murder of a peace officer in connection with a murder-for-hire plot to kill her estranged husband.

Smith remained jailed Monday on $100,000 on a charge of solicitation to commit capital murder. Her bond also was reduced from $200,000.

A Texas Ranger, acting undercover, met with the women on May 9 at a park located on the Harrison County side of Longview after receiving a tip from a confidential informant about the scheme, according to an arrest affidavit filed in 71st District Court. The affidavit says the informant told police a few days earlier the two women offered him $5,000 to kill Smith, so they could collect on his life insurance policy. The money was expected to be paid upon his death to Amanda Smith as the named spouse and beneficiary.

According to court records, Smith filed for divorce March 14. According to the affidavit, the two women told the hitman that he had to kill the police officer before May 14, when the divorce would be final.

The report shows that the potential hit man was given detailed information regarding the officer's position with Hallsville police, a description of vehicles he drives, a license plate number for one of the vehicles and $150 for any supplies that he would need to successfully carry out the hit.

The affidavit says that the undercover agent gave Amanda Smith the opportunity to back out of trying to carry out the plot to murder her husband.

"Amanda Denise Smith stated that she wanted to continue with the plan to have (him) killed," the report indicates.

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