Carrollton Woman Takes Plea Deal in Murder for Hire Trial

Vera Elizabeth Guthrie-Nail had been on trial since Monday for the 2007 shooting of her ex-husband Craig

A Carrollton woman facing capital murder charges in the death of her ex-husband took a plea deal Wednesday.

Two and a half days after her case went to trial, Vera Elizabeth Guthrie-Nail pleaded guilty to conspiracy to capital murder and was sentenced to 50 years in prison with the possibility of parole.

Earlier this week, prosecutors argued the couple’s divorce and bitter custody battle turned deadly. 

Craig Nail and his girlfriend, Therisa Johnson were inside his Frisco home Dec. 26, 2007, when a gunman walked in fired nearly a dozen rounds.

Nail ran for his gun in the master bedroom closet, but he didn’t make it. He was fatally shot in the head. Johnson took a bullet to the forehead, arm and ear, but managed to escape to a neighbor’s house to get help.

During victim impact statements, Johnson told the court she has lingering health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression, all stemming from the shooting.

“I’ve also missed out on the rest of my life with a beautiful man,” Johnson said, looking at Guthrie-Nail.

“You took that away ... I don’t know how a human being could do something so evil and so mean-spirited,” she said.

Before the plea deal was reached, the man convicted of Nail's murder, Mark Bell, took the stand in a hearing outside the jury’s presence.

In the past, and in recordings, he has said Guthrie-Nail laid out the plot and planned to pay him to kill her ex.

Perhaps because Bell is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, the confessed killer’s memory got a little fuzzy testifying during her trial.  Bell has nothing to lose and on the stand told the judge that medication for depression has made him forget what happened in Dec., 2007.

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