Murder-for-Hire Plot “Mind-Boggling”: Cops

The victim was shocked to learn her husband and her mother-in-law were arrested for trying to have her killed

An El Cajon woman’s husband and mother-in-law met with an undercover officer in a Wal-Mart parking lot and paid to have her killed according to El Cajon police. 

El Cajon residents Francis Richard Noble, 31, and his mother June Pickard, 57, were arrested Jan. 12 in a murder-for-hire conspiracy that investigators described as “mind-boggling.”

The victim, Noble’s wife of three years, was living with the two suspects in her El Cajon condo and had no idea her husband and mother-in-law were plotting to have her killed for financial gain investigators said.

“This was a shock to the victim,” Lt. Steve Shakowski with El Cajon police.

He said it took several hours for the 31-year-old victim to understand the severity of the threat.

While investigators refused to reveal all the details in the case, Shakowski did say the meetings between undercover officers and the suspects took place within a week in the parking lot of Parkway Plaza near the Wal-Mart and Sears.

Many of the meetings took place inside a vehicle police said.

“They were serious. They were motivated,” Shakowski said.

“They wanted to have her killed and they were willing to pay to have that done. “

The investigation began Jan. 6 when an old classmate of Noble’s bumped into Pickard at the mall.

Pickard and the man started talking and “the conversation turned sour pretty quickly,” Shakowski said. Investigators claim Pickard asked the man to help her in the plot.

“If you heard the comments made to him, you too would not have very much doubt in your mind,” he said.

Later that day the man called police and agreed to help them in the investigation.

In less than a week, officers made the arrests.

“This is not the type of investigation that you can let simmer for a long period of time because there is a danger factor involved,” Shakowski said.

Noble and Pickard were arraigned Tuesday at El Cajon Superior Court, each charged with two felonies. Noble faces charges of solicitation to commit murder and conspiracy to commit a crime. Pickard was charged with attempted solicitation to commit murder and conspiracy to commit a crime. Both are being held on $1 million bond.

Investigators would not discuss any life insurance policy but said the suspects stood to gain an amount in the low six-figures if the murder had taken place.

The victim and the reporting party have asked police not to reveal their identities.

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