Murder-for-Hire: Bradenton mom who considered having ex-husband kidnapped, made into sex slave sentenced to 20 years in prison

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Manatee County woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday for hiring a hit man to kill her ex-husband. 

Rachael Leahy wanted her husband drowned, burned or even sold into sex slavery, but her hitman turned out to be an undercover deputy.

Leahy desperately wanted her ex-husband to be killed in an effort to regain custody of her three young children.

For the first time we heard from her ex-husband, David, who said she was not a model mother.

“She would tie them up with zip ties, lock them to their bed, lock them in closets. This was while I was away at work,” said David Leahy.

He said after the divorce they had joint custody, but the abuse continued, so he gained total custody.

“I find out she’s locking them in the garage. She’s still tying them up,” recalled David Leahy.

A few years later, she tried to hire the hitman, who turned out to be an undercover deputy. In the sentencing hearing, a video clip was played which showed Rachael giving suggestions on the manner of death.

“Something that looks accidental. Like, I mean, if he was to drown, or he was to, I love fire, just like a fire thing where he’s caught in a fire,” Leahy said.

She added she wished there was a way to have him kidnapped and turned into a sex slave.

“I have all kinds of thoughts, like it would be great if somebody could, a group of people all in black and hoods and stuff would just throw him in a van and take him overseas and make them their man gimp…for the rest of their life,” Leahy said.

She even expressed concern that he could survive the attempts on his life.

“If you were to rig a car and it was to flip over, there’s no guarantees that he dies for that,” Leahy said in the video.

The undercover deputy repeatedly gave her opportunities to back out.

“I know it’s an absolute extreme. I’m not this sort of person but listen, I’ve been through hell…There is no other resolution than for him to be gone completely,” said Leahy.

She offered to pay $5,000 and was later arrested.

David Leahy said he was paranoid after he learned of the murder-for-hire plot.

“We changed all the locks on the doors. We’ve got security cameras all over the house. Every time somebody hears a noise at night they’re jumping up…We know she has lots of other guy friends around, who knows what they’ll do,” said David Leahy.

In court, her defense team said she suffers from PTSD and mental illness.

Leahy herself asked the judge for leniency.

“I am so sorry to my kids. I am so sorry to this court,. I am so sorry to God and I want to apologize also to my ex-husband,” she said.

“I would not do this over again. I don’t know what I was thinking at that time. I was not in my right mind, but I wouldn’t do it again. I wish I never thought that way…I wish I could take it all back,” Leahy added.

“Ms. Leahy, there are consequences to one’s actions,” said Judge Deno Economou.

The judge then sentenced her to 20 years in prison and sent her away.

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