Dateline NBC investigates the twisted murder-for-hire plot involving Meghan Verikas, Leon Jacob, Valerie McDaniel and Marion “Mack” McDaniel. Leon Jacob is currently serving life in prison and will be eligible for parole after 30 years.
According to the episode description for the Dateline epiosde, “When Meghan Verikas falls in love with successful Houston doctor Leon Jacob, the relationship ends up taking a turn for the worse. As she breaks up with him, she finds out she might be the target of a murder-for-hire plot.”
The story has been the subject of Dateline NBC, 20/20, 48 Hours and plenty of podcasts and YouTube videos.
Leon Jacob Will Be Eligible For Parole in 2047
— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) July 26, 2020
Both Leon Jacob and his girlfriend Valerie McDaniel were arrested and charged with solicitation of capital murder, according to ABC News.
After being arrested, McDaniel was released on bail and died by suicide two weeks later after jumping off the balcony of her seventh-floor apartment the day before she was to appear in court.
According to KTRK, McDaniel made recordings, telling her version of events, before her death and left them for a friend in the building who worked for KPRC. Some excerpts were later shared, including Valerie claiming that police entrapped her and she never planned to hurt her daughter’s father.
“I’m so sorry about everything,” she said.
Jacob’s trial occurred in March 2018. At the time, he took the stand to profess his innocence and assert that he is not guilty. The jury disagreed with him, however, convicting him of two counts of solicitation of capital murder.
Jacob was sentenced to life in prison on March 27, 2018 and will be eligible for parole after 30 years behind bars.
After the guilty verdict, Verikas delivered a victim impact statement, speaking directly to Jacob.
“You manipulated me to leave my family and the life I had,” she told him. “I believe everything happens for a reason. While you sit in jail I hope you think of me, a girl that you called poor and uneducated. It’s because of me you will be in prison for life.”
Jacob Says He is Innocent & Lawyers Appealed the Verdict in 2019
— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) July 27, 2020
Jacob has since done interviews on ABC’s 20/20 as well as Dateline NBC, always professing his innocence.
“I am innocent of these charges. I still maintain that throughout,” he said on 20/20. “I find them to be atrocious in manner because I’m not some monster that wanted my ex-girlfriend killed and her ex-husband…. I’m a healer by nature.”
During the trial, Jacob testified that he never arranged to have anyone killed, according to Click 2 Houston. He said that he did hire someone, but he hired them to investigate Verikas after the two had broken up. He claimed that the conversations were only about not wanting to hurt or harm anyone.
“I’m not on trial for being a womanizer,” he said. “I’m on trial for solicitation of capital murder. You can assassinate my character all you want… it doesn’t make me guilty of what you’ve charged me with.”
Jacob added that he is “absolutely not” guilty of the charges and claimed the $10,000 he gave to the investigator was supposed to be given to Verikas so she could restart her life after their breakup.
In 2019, according to AP, lawyers for Jacob argued that the trial was botched based on misspelled names and the use of initials in the transcripts.