CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A judge sentenced a former Charleston firefighter to 12 years and seven months in prison for attempting to hire a hit man to murder his wife.
Edward Clinton Jones, 42, pleaded guilty in August to trying to have his wife, Michelle Jones, killed. He faced up to 15 years in prison.
Prosecutors say Jones wanted his wife murdered to collect insurance money.
Jones addressed the court Wednesday afternoon. He apologized and told the judge he loves his wife.
Michelle Jones' attorney said her client is pleased with the outcome of the case.
"It's just been, we've been married for 20 years and I just feel that it's all been a lie," she said on Nov. 12 when she spoke out publicly for the first time on the case against her husband. She said she will never forget New Years Eve, 2013, the date detectives say Edward met with the would-be hit man in the parking lot of a West Ashley shopping center.
The hit man turned out to be an undercover cop.
The hit was supposed to happen in the parking lot where Michelle worked on Ashley Crossing Drive. Three detectives went to her workplace and told Michelle she needed to go home.
"They followed me home and that's when they gave me the news that they had just arrested him, and he had put a hit on me to have me murdered," she said.
Two days later, she says police played the audio tape of her husband trying to pay the undercover cop to kill her. She heard him tell the officer every detail including where she parked her car at work.
"What he wanted done, how he wanted it done, just his voice having a normal conversation. It was heartbreaking. I just, I couldn't believe it," she said.
She says even with her husband behind bars she is still frightened.
"I'm always nervous. I park my car in the front of my job. I'm always looking over my shoulder 'cause I don't know who else is out there," Jones said.
Edward's sister said psychological problems and was put on medication after the Sofa Super Store fire that killed nine fellow firefighters in 2007.
Ginger Davis said that played a role in her brother's crime.
"My brother had no idea how to drive a car, much less want to kill his wife. He loved his wife and he loved his kids," Davis said.
Several other family members spoke on behalf of Edward Jones, including one of his own daughters.
In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel called it a planned out crime.