Jeffrey Stern is charged with plotting to have his wife Yvonne killed - twice!
But Yvonne was by his side holding his hand as they walked into the courthouse. She survived a gunshot wound in one of the murder attempts, but she's his biggest defender and greatest hope for freedom.
"Mrs. Stern doesn't want to comment at this time. Her actions speak for themselves," attorney Paul Nugent told reporters at the courthouse.
As the wife of a wealthy personal injury lawyer, Yvonne cut a glamorous figure. She's extremely popular and well liked, but somebody wanted her dead.
The Sterns lived in a home in the exclusive neighborhood of Bellaire, Texas, just outside Houston. Incredibly, authorities say it is the place where two attempts were made on Yvonne's life.
In February 2010, shots were fired through the windows but nobody was home. Then in April of the same year, someone fired through the front door and again, nobody was hurt.
Fearing for her life, Yvonne moved the family from their home to an apartment complex. She was getting into her car one day when a man came up to her and shot her in the stomach.
Four men have been arrested in connection with the murder-for-hire plot. Two have pled guilty, the other two have pled not guilty.
Michelle Gaiser, Jeffrey Stern's onetime mistress, was also arrested for plotting to kill Yvonne. Prosecutors say she was recorded hiring hit men to kill her. Gaiser claims Jeffrey was in on it.
"She's a vicious person. She tried to kill this woman here, fortunately Yvonne's strong, she's 100 percent recovered, and the Stern family's going to survive," Paul Nugent told reporters.
Soon after she was shot, Yvonne filed for divorce, but she later changed her mind and reconciled with her husband. According to veteran criminal defense attorney Dan Cogdell, the sight of them walking into court hand in hand will have a powerful effect on the jury.
Cogdell says, "The fact that the victim is supporting the very person who is accused of arranging her intended death, I've never heard of that happening, and that gives Mr. Stern a huge advantage in the trial proceedings."
Jeffrey Stern has pled not guilty to all charges.