Murder plot results in 15-year sentence

MARBLE HILL (AP) — A Cape Girardeau woman was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for conceiving a plot to kill her husband — a plot that instead led to the deaths of a pregnant woman and her teenage son.

Michelle Lawrence was sentenced in Marble Hill, where the case was heard on a change of venue. She pleaded guilty in June to a murder conspiracy charge.

Jamie Lynn Orman, her 15-year-old son, Derrick, and her unborn child were killed in October 2009 at a home in Cape Girardeau. A jury earlier this month convicted Ryan Patterson of three counts of first-degree murder and recommended life in prison. Sentencing is Sept. 19.

Samuel “Ray Ray” Hughes pleaded guilty to being the lookout and is awaiting sentencing on Sept. 13.

Authorities said Lawrence and Patterson were dating in 2009. She testified during Patterson’s trial that she told him about a $400,000 life insurance policy and how they could live the “high life” if her husband died.

Patterson and Hughes went to John Lawrence’s home to kill him. He wasn’t home, but they killed Orman — John Lawrence’s girlfriend — and her son.

At the hearing Friday, Michelle Lawrence asked Judge William Syler for leniency, but the sentence followed Cape Girardeau County prosecutor Morley Swingle’s recommendation that she get 15 years — the maximum for the murder conspiracy charge.

Swingle acknowledged that relatives of the victim would prefer a longer sentence, but called what Lawrence got appropriate.

“She didn’t intend for the Ormans to get killed,” he said.

Lawrence’s guilty plea was part of an agreement with Swingle in exchange for her testimony against Patterson.

Lawrence apologized in court, citing her “greed” in seeking the insurance payout.

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