One morning in June 2007, Thomas Lee Sehorne was found dead in his carport by his wife, Cristie. The authorities looked into the case, but it took years before a cold-blooded murder-for-hire plot was uncovered. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Scorned: Fatal Fury: When Hubby’s Away, Wifey Will Play’ chronicles how the authorities used witness statements to tie the perpetrators to the murder. So, if you’re curious to find out more, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Thomas Lee Sehorne Die?
Thomas Lee Sehorne was a Warner Robins, Georgia, native born in March 1970. He was described as a caring and loving man in addition to being a dedicated Merchant Marine. Lee met Cristie when they were pretty young and married after being together for about three years. The couple had two children — David and Elizabeth Ann — and settled into a comfortable life in Lithia in Eastern Hillsborough County, Florida.
Lee would often be away from home because of his work. But during one of his trips back home, tragedy struck. Sometime after 8 am on June 7, 2007, Cristie called the authorities after finding 37-year-old Lee’s body in the carport outside their house. He was located face down in a pool of blood and was shot twice with a .38-caliber gun. The authorities quickly ruled out robbery because Lee still had money on him. It appeared that the motive was personal.
Who Killed Thomas Lee Sehorne?
While some reports indicated that the couple’s then-6-year-old son found the body, others mentioned Cristie calling 911 after locating Lee on the ground, unresponsive. As per the show, when Cristie was questioned initially, she claimed to have seen her husband the previous night when he had gone to pick up a friend from the airport in Tampa, Florida. Cristie added that she found the body the following morning. However, an investigation revealed that there was more to the story that Cristie volunteered at the time.
According to the show, Lee and Cristie had an open marriage with specific rules and had previously visited a swingers club. However, over time, Cristie developed a relationship with Jerry Bottorff, a bouncer at that club, sometime in 2005. While Jerry initially denied the relationship, he later mentioned having sex with Cristie and claimed Lee was okay with it. As the case stalled, Jerry and Cristie moved on with their lives, marrying in December 2008. She moved into his home with the kids.
As the police continued to dig in, they noticed a lot of correspondence between Cristie, Jerry, and another phone number. This was traced to Michael Garcia, a gang member who was already in prison at the time on unrelated charges. He was a friend of Jerry’s and knew Cristie from the club. Initially, Michael denied knowing anything about the murder, but the case caught a break in May 2008 when his wife, Lana, came forward with information.
Lana told the police that Michael was paid to kill Lee, and another man named Luis Angel Lopez was involved. It was stated on the show that Luis was a low-ranking gang member. Michael then decided to cooperate with the authorities. He claimed that Jerry approached him about wanting someone who could kill in exchange for money. Michael brought Luis into the fold, with Jerry and Cristie agreeing to pay them $60,000 from Lee’s insurance proceedings.
On the night of the murder, Michael and Luis went to the Sehorne residence. While Luis hid under a truck, Michael acted as the lookout. The former pulled the trigger after Lee arrived, with the two fleeing the scene soon after. They got rid of their clothing in a trash can and dumped the gun in the local river; a dive team recovered it in February 2009. The authorities set up an undercover operation, with Michael asking Jerry to pay him for the murder. As a result, Jerry agreed to meet Michael’s representative for the transaction. However, he was meeting undercover cops and did so three times, paying $18,000 in total.
Where Are Cristie and Jerry Bottorff Today?
The authorities concluded that the insurance proceeds were the primary motive. Cristie and Jerry agreed to plead guilty. Later, Jerry claimed Thomas Lee Sehorne was an abusive alcoholic. He further alleged that while he approached Michael with the idea of having Lee killed, Michael coerced him and Cristie into it. Jerry said that initially, they didn’t believe Michael would carry out the murder. In July 2012, Cristie, then 34, and Jerry, then 42, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and other charges.
In October of the same year, both received three concurrent life terms in federal prison. In January 2013, Luis, then 25, also received a life sentence for being the triggerman. Ultimately, in January 2013, Michael received a 20-year sentence for his involvement. Prison records indicate that Cristie remains incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Aliceville, Alabama. As for Jerry, he is serving his sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona.
Read More: How Did Donna Hogue Die?