Trial Begins for Woman Accused of Enlisting Son, Brother in Murder Conspiracy

PHOTO: Amy Bessey appears in court where she is being tried for allegedly plotting to murder her husband.
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A Las Vegas woman is on trial after prosecutors say she conspired with her son and brother to kill her then-estranged husband in a botched plot so she could collect life insurance money.

Amy Bessey, faces up to 91 years in prison if she's convicted of the seven charges against her, including attempted murder, solicitation to commit murder and conspiracy. Prosecutors said she enlisted the help of her son, Michael Bessey, 22, and her brother, Richard Pearson, to kill her husband as he drove south on Interstate 15 near Las Vegas on Nov. 14, 2012.

Amy Bessey, 43, who also uses the name Amy Pearson, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Robert Bessey was shot in the neck seven days before his divorce to Amy was to be finalized and before he was able to change the beneficiary of the $250,000 life insurance policy.

The couple had been married for 18 years and had three kids together. Prior to their marriage, they each had two children from prior relationships. Michael Bessey is Amy's biological son, whom Robert adopted two years after they were married.

Robert Bessey testified Monday that he was driving his usual route to work at 4:35 a.m. when a gunshot erupted from a gold SUV.

"I felt a hot sensation here and towards the back of my neck. I start feeling what I believe to be a bullet," Bessey told the court. "This is my sweatshirt. You can see the hole in the neck."

Prosecutor Sam Martinez said Pearson sent his sister a text message hours before the alleged shooting that read, "I love it when a plan comes together."

"That ladies and gentlemen is a text message sent by Ric Pearson to his sister, the defendant, Amy Bessey, approximately six hours prior to Robert Bessey being shot in the head," Martinez told jurors.

In an audio recording played in court, prosecutors say Amy Bessey acted surprised when police told her that her husband was shot but had survived.

"A famous saying was repeated that hell hath no fury as a woman scorned, and the evidence in this case, is going to show that the defendant, Amy Bessey is that woman scorned," Martinez said.

One piece of evidence that prosecutors say is vital to the case is gas station surveillance video that captured Bessey's brother and son not far from the scene of the shooting in a gold SUV that police say was tied to the incident.

Robert Bessey also testified that Michael had been pulling away from him to be closer to his wife after he returned from the military months before the shooting. Bessey said Michael's move back into the home caused friction between him and his wife. He also noticed Michael's relationship with his mother had changed.

"They seemed to be closer or adult conversation, rather than mother-son," Bessey testified.

Michael Bessey was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army, Robert Bessey told authorities, according to a police report.

Richard Pearson and Michael Bessey face trial Feb. 24 on similar charges. Pearson and Bessey have pleaded not guilty.

Eric M. Strauss contributed to this report.

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