MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas -- An elderly inmate is accused of trying to hire a hitman to murder Montgomery County Assistant D.A. Robert Freyer and put D.A. Brett Ligon “in the hospital for two to three weeks.”
Officials on Monday identified the inmate as Dorothy Canfield, 84.
The district attorney’s office said Canfield was already behind bars on a second degree felony theft charge. A confidential informant led Texas Rangers to monitor Canfield’s communications.
Based on her alleged desire to hire a “hitman,” Canfield was given the name and phone number of an undercover Harris County District Attorney investigator. The investigator met with Canfield at the Montgomery County jail, officials said. During their conversation, Canfield agreed to pay the undercover officer $5,000 to kill Robert Freyer and $2,500 to put District Attorney Brett Ligon in the hospital for “two to three weeks.”
Early Monday, Canfield was interviewed by Texas Rangers, and she confessed to the plot, the D.A.’s office said.
Officials said prior to her confession, the Rangers showed her photographs from an unrelated crime scene and pretended that Robert Freyer had actually been killed. They said Dorothy Canfield showed no remorse.
The allegations come at a time of heightened security for district attorneys and their staffers across the state. It was late March when Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found dead in their North Texas home. Two months earlier, one of his assistant prosecutors was assassinated. Those murders are still under investigation, and no arrests have been made.
“Dorothy Canfield hoped to capitalize on the tragic murder of the Kaufman County District Attorney, his wife and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse to disrupt the prosecution of her theft charge in the most violent way possible,” stated District Attorney Brett Ligon. “Criminals that plot and threaten to harm those in law enforcement and prosecution need to know that we are watching. The Texas Rangers and other law enforcement agencies are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to protect public servants from these types of threats. And when you are caught, as Ms. Canfield has been, expect us to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to requesting a Montgomery County jury to give Ms. Canfield the justice she deserves.”
Canfield faces charges of solicitation to commit capital murder and solicitation to commit aggravated assault on a public servant.
The D.A.’s office said the Montgomery County Sherriff’s Office, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, and Texas Rangers assisted in the investigation.
More about the case is expected to be revealed at 1 p.m. press conference at the sheriff’s office.
KHOU 11 News originally reported on Canfield in November 2012 when she was arrested for allegedly stealing more than $50,000 from people who were trying to become U.S. citizens.