The Burleson man who didn't realize he was hiring Johnson County Sheriff Bob Alford to kill his wife and her friend could face two life sentences for solicitation of capital murder.
Tab Denny Johnson, 53, was indicted March 7 by a Johnson County grand jury on counts of allegedly contracting to kill his wife, Barbara Johnson, and her friend Leonard Taylor.
Johnson spoke Jan. 5 with a "hit man," who turned out to be the local sheriff.
"We negotiated everything over the phone," Alford said. "He probably would not know me if he saw me."
Johnson was being held in the Johnson County Jail on criminal charges stemming from offenses involving his estranged wife, with bonds totaling $100,000, when he reached out to Alford.
Now he faces two first-degree charges of solicitation of capital murder which each carry a sentence of 5 years to life imprisonment. He's being held on an additional $500,000 bond in the Johnson County Jail.
Johnson believed he was soliciting, negotiating with and hiring a "hit man" when he spoke with Alford, according to sheriff's office reports.
The operation was initiated through information received by Sheriff's Lt. Brian Peterson, the jail administrator, who had learned Johnson had contacted other inmates to commit the two murders, according to prior sheriff's office reports.
A coordinated effort with Texas Ranger Don Stoner and the office of Johnson County District Attorney Dale Hanna led to Alford participating in the operation. Johnson was offering money and vehicles as payment for the murders, according to prior sheriff's office reports.
"I had prior experience with these type of cases from my time with the Texas DPS," Alford said.
Arrangements were made to connect Johnson by phone with Alford, and after a series of conversations as well as relayed instructions from Johnson, the contract was established and agreed upon, according to the sheriff's office.
The case will be referred to a district court magistrate for a pretrial hearing and plea.