Inmate offers 20 jail meals for cellmate to kill ex-wife, deputies say

Suspect charged with criminal solicitation for murder

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor, Vanessa Araiza - Reporter

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - An inmate at the Lake County Jail signed a contract with his cellmate offering 20 meal trays and $2,000 to kill his ex-wife and her boyfriend, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

The investigation into 32-year-old Michael Lee began when a deputy located a "hit" contract with names and signatures, an affidavit said.

The inmate who had signed the contract told authorities that Lee said he would give him 20 trays of food to kill his ex-wife and her boyfriend when he gets released Wednesday. Deputies said Lee offered to give the inmate another $2,000 once the hit was completed.

The inmate who signed the contract, whose name was redacted from the report, said Lee was an "idiot" and he was going to take the food, but he had no intentions of harming the woman or her boyfriend when he gets released, the report said.

Lee went as far as to provide the inmate with his ex-wife's address, license plate number and the name of her employer, according to the affidavit.

Records show that Lee is currently in jail on charges involving his ex-wife and he has a history of stalking and threatening her.

Deputies said Lee denied soliciting his podmate to murder his ex-wife and instead claimed that he was giving that inmate meals because that inmate had no money in his commissary account.

News 6's Vanessa Araiza spoke to Lee Thursday during a jailhouse interview.

Lee said a detective showed him some sort of letter, but said it was a joke and that the hit list was put together by another inmate. 

He said he doesn't know why it was even put together in the first place.

"It was created as a joke from another inmate. I don't know if it was just a joke just to scare me or try to get time off or anything like that," Lee said.

Lee told Araiza he never wanted his family killed and that he had no part in putting together the contract.

"I love the mother of my kids. I love my children," Lee said. "I would never put them in harms way. I would never do nothing like this that would endanger my kids life."

Lee said he wants people to know that he is being set up by someone and that there was no way he could execute a plan like that while he was in jail.

He said he's just a guy who is trying to get his kids, and that his family shouldn't be in fear for their lives.

"She is the mother of my kids. She gave birth to them. She was a stay at home mom at one time. I took care of the kids while she worked," Lee said. "She has no reason to fear me. I would not harm her or my kids."

Lee also said he wouldn't want to hurt anyone involved with his children's mother because it could jeopardize their safety.

"Even the guy who she is with. I would not harm him because he is with my wife and I would not want to endanger my wife or kids in any shape, way or form," Lee said.

Fred Jones, with the Sheriff's Office, said the incident isn't something that should be joked about.

"Twenty trays to kill someone. In any correction facility across the United States, food is currency. You know. You know, it could be laughable if it wasn't so serious, but that's what people use in these correctional facilities to get what they want."

Jones said it should as a reminder of how serious domestic violence is.

"This is someone who you used to be with. This is your ex-wife. You know, this isn't just some guy on the street that you have a vendetta against," Jones said. "That just shows you the seriousness of domestic violence and how it even tries, even after that perpetrator is put away, he still tries to reach beyond the walls to get his revenge."

Lee is charged with criminal solicitation for murder. He's being held without bond.

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