Former TV Chef Arrested; Police Say He Hired Hitmen
He was the Food Network star chef who called himself the "Calorie Commando." Today he's behind bars for allegedly cooking up a murder plot.
Police say Juan-Carlos Cruz tried to hire three homeless people to murder his wife, Jennifer Campbell, a Los Angeles-based lawyer.
Cruz lost 43 pounds on the Discovery Channel reality show Body Challenge in 2000.
The pastry chef soon became a Food Network TV star, and wrote The Juan-Carlos Cruz Calorie Countdown Cookbook.
Police say he approached three homeless men in Santa Monica, California, and offered them $1,000 to kill his wife. He is alleged to have given them a box cutter, the details of security systems at his home, and 10 one-hundred dollar bills cut in half, with the promise of the other halves after the job was done.
Police say he also gave the men a phone and later texted them: "Have 2d party ready 2 take over if u don't want it r u in?"
The homeless men claim Cruz first wanted his wife's throat cut, then changed his mind and asked for her to be strangled.
The homeless men went to the police and wore a wire to gather more evidence against the 48-year-old celebrity chef.
Cruz is being held on $5 million bail. If convicted, he faces nine years in jail.