Cops: Celebrity Baker and Former Marine Tried to Hire Hit Man to Kill Her Ex Over Child Visitation
A local celebrity baker has been charged with attempted first-degree murder for allegedly hiring a hitman kill her ex-boyfriend and the father of her toddler son, authorities said.
Laura Ann Buckingham, 29, allegedly plotted to kill her ex-lover and paid an undercover Tennessee Bureau of Investigations agent to do away with Bradley Sutherland, police and prosecutors said.
Buckingham is a former Marine who appeared on the cover of Southern Indiana Living for her baking skills.
But Roane County authorities alleged in a statement "She acted with intent to complete a course of action that would constitute the offense of premeditated murder by hiring and paying another to kill Bradley Sutherland and thereby taking a substantial step toward the commission of that offense."
She has pleaded not guilty and is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail, People magazine reported.
The case has several odd twists and turns.
Buckingham allegedly asked her current boyfriend, ex-Marine sniper Joseph Chamblin, if he could make Sutherland "go away," authorities said.
When she kept asking, Chamblin began to secretly tape her comments and took them to the Roane County Sheriff's Department, officials said.
Chamblin has faced his own public problems. He is one of four service members videoed urinating on dead Taliban fighters in 2011. He was demoted and fined after pleading guilty to military prosecutors.
The woman was introduced to the state agent posing as a hit man and allegedly agreed to pay him $30,000 to whack her ex because she was tired of driving a long distance to drop her son for shared visitation, authorities said.
She was arrested Feb. 24 in Kingston, Tennessee, police said. The sheriff's department there had informed Sutherland of the alleged plot and had him stage his own death to convince Buckingham he was dead, authorities said.
“It was traumatic,” Sutherland said, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.