In 2018, former Houston doctor Leon Jacob was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in a murder for hire plot along with his girlfriend, Valerie McDaniel.
Today, Jacob is being held at the “Mac” Stringfellow Unit– a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison– located in Rosharon, Texas. According to a Texas inmate search, Jacob will be eligible for parole in 2047.
McDaniel Took Her Life a Short Time After Her Arrest
Jacob’s girlfriend at the time, Valerie McDaniel, took her own life after jumping off a seventh-floor balcony at her housing complex a short time after their arrest, according to Chron.
In the words of Chron, “The two wanted to dispose of their exes — Jacob’s ex-girlfriend Meghan Verikas and McDaniel’s ex-husband, Marion ‘Mack’ McDaniel — and began negotiating with someone they thought was a hit man…”
In his attempt to find a hitman, Jacob unwittingly came into contact with a bail bondsman named Michael Kubosh, who immediately called his Houston police contacts. Eventually, police were able to record a conversation with Jacob in which he admitted that he intended on carrying out not one but two murder-for-hire-plots, according to ABC News.
In March 2017, police arrested and charged Jacob and McDaniel with solicitation of capital murder. It was while she was released on bail that McDaniel took her own life. She was slated to appear in court the following day, according to Oxygen.
ABC reported that before she took her own life, McDaniel “wrote down her final wishes and recorded her final words on her iPad.”
Jacob Pleaded Not Guilty In Trial
Since his arrest, Jacob has maintained his innocence. In a 2017 interview with ABC News’ 20/20, Jacob shared, “I am innocent of these charges. I still maintain that throughout. 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.”
He added that McDaniel made the decision to commit suicide on her own and he did not feel responsible for her death.
In a statement to ABC News after the sentencing, Harris County Assistant District Attorney Samantha Knecht shared, “We were very pleased with the swift guilty and punishment verdict. Justice was served knowing he can no longer be a danger to our community.”
Jacob’s defense attorney, however, told the news outlet that he planned on filing an appeal.
In April 2019, ABC reported that appellate lawyers were angling for an appeal by arguing what the outlet described as an “unusual” argument.
ABC wrote, “As Shearer [Jacob’s attorney] explained, the indictments against Jacob say that he concocted a murder-for-hire plot against “M.M.” and “M.V.” The indictment does not spell out that M.M. stands for Marion “Mack” McDaniel, the former husband of Jacob’s girlfriend. Similarly, prosecutors did not have the name Meghan Verikas, Jacob’s former girlfriend, in the indictment.”
Shearer argued that prosecutors must prove that the names listed in the indictment are those who took part in the trial.
“If M.M. stands for the complaining witness, it has to be shown. It could be Mickey Mouse. We don’t know what it was, because no one ever testified, and there is no proof as to what it was,” Shearer said, according to ABC.
As the outlet pointed out, however, it could take months, if not years, for a resolution to be reached.