Fred Wortman, a 39-year-old former attorney, apologized to his wife in court Nov. 10 for trying to murder her three times.
The father of three has been detained on first degree attempted murder charges since June on a bond of $15 million, Local Memphis reported.
“It doesn’t seem real. Why, why? But I know I will never receive that answer,” Staci Wortman, Fred’s wife, said in court in Collierville, Tennessee, according to Local Memphis.
“My children and I pray for you daily that your heart will change,” she added.
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Fred entered three guilty pleas in the space of two days. The court hearing on Nov. 10 related to an attempt to poison his wife’s toothpaste. In Shelby County Nov. 9, Wortman pleaded guilty to both arranging a hitman to murder Staci and trying to persuade an inmate to carry out the crime.
“No apology which I offer will be sufficient to all who I have disappointed, let down and hurt. I do apologize to Staci, the Jones, my parents, my family, most of all I apologize to my three precious children,” Fred Wortman said in court.
“I still struggle, but my children are the greatest victims," Staci said outside the courthouse. "They know he's in jail. They know he wanted me not to be alive any more. They know he has to face the consequences."
Staci also explained her surprise.
“It's just unbelievable that the person I've known for 18 years could do this," she said. "I've heard people say what their abuse, domestic violence, there was nothing. There was none of that in our marriage."
Investigators discovered that the attorney looked for potential murder techniques online earlier this year, WMC Action News 5 reported.
“There are numerous searches where he tried to find hitmen there are also numerous searches where he researched numerous poisons,” said Shelby County assistant district attorney Paul Hagerman, according to WMC.
Wortman purchased a poison in January and set it up for Staci to ingest when she brushed her teeth.
“Upon using the toothpaste, she had a burning sensation, a headache sensation, she compared it to a migraine,” Hagerman added.
Wortman’s three guilty pleas were combined and he was given 30 years in prison. However, he could be eligible for parole in nine years.