October 12, 2017
‘20/20’ SPEAKS TO DOCTOR FROM JAIL CHARGED WITH HIRING A HIT MAN WITH VETERINARIAN GIRLFRIEND TO KILL THEIR EXES
Hour Investigates an Alleged Double Murder-for-Hire Plot and the Elaborate Sting Operation that Police Say Stopped It
‘20/20’ Airs on the West Coast Saturday, October 14 (10:00-11:00 p.m. PDT), on ABC
What caused a doctor and veterinarian couple to allegedly hire a hit-man to kill their exes? Saturday night “20/20” investigates this alleged double murder-for-hire plot and the elaborate sting operation authorities say they set up to catch Houston area veterinarian, Valerie McDaniel, and her boyfriend, Leon Jacob, before it was too late. Leon, charged with solicitation of capital murder, tells correspondent Matt Gutman from jail that he did nothing wrong. The report includes the audio recording diary Valerie made after she was arrested and shortly before she took her own life. In addition, the hour features arrest video and interviews with Michael Kubosh, the man who alerted authorities to his suspicions about Jacob; prosecutors; and friends close to Valerie. Due to the college football broadcast schedule, “20/20” airs only on the West Coast Saturday, Oct. 14 (10:00–11:00 p.m. PDT), on ABC. (Rebroadcast. ABC OAD: 9/22/17)
After an expensive divorce from Marion “Mac” McDaniel – Valerie’s husband of 17 years and father to their young child – she found love again when she began dating Leon, whose resume and self-confidence belie a troubled past. Although he graduated from medical school, he was kicked out of more than one residency program, including one where a hospital found him to be an “immediate threat to patient safety.” In addition, police arrested and charged him with stalking another girlfriend earlier this year; if convicted of a felony, his chances of ever practicing medicine would be in jeopardy. Both newly single, Leon and Valerie spent about two months dating before police say they plotted to get rid of their exes. Authorities claim that Leon and Valerie hired a man known as “Zach” who told the couple he could take care of their issues. Police say that when “Zach” took Leon’s money and disappeared, Leon reached out to Michael – the local bail bondsman who knew “Zach” – for help in locating him. But as Michael tells “20/20”, he became wary of Leon’s motive to find "Zach" and went to police. Police say they then conducted a sting operation, which involved faking Mac’s death and Leon’s ex-girlfriend’s kidnapping to stop the alleged plot. The two lovers were arrested and charged. Valerie took her life shortly after being released on bail. Leon’s trial is pending. He has plead not guilty.
“20/20” is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and David Muir. David Sloan is senior executive producer.
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