Local News

Police Chief's Wife Sentenced to Prison Time for Hiring Hit Man to Kill Husband

Posted May 17, 1999

— The Wayne County woman who hired a hit man to kill her husband will go to prison. Wednesday afternoon Suzanne Guthrie got a 44-month sentence, even though her husband, Eureka Police Chief Rick Guthrie, asked the judge for leniency.

Guthrie testified his wife is dealing with several mental problems that are being controlled with medication. He says the two are actually closer since the murder attempt.

It was like a made-for-TV movie. Suzanne Guthrie was trying to hire a hit man when police uncovered her plan. But Tuesday, Guthrie was in court with his wife and said he has forgiven her.

Guthrie came into the courtroom with his wife in hopes of persuading the judge to give her probation instead of up to three and a half years in prison.

The two walked hand in hand into a Wayne County courtroom so that Suzanne Guthrie could be sentenced. Her husband says they have never been closer.

"We're stronger now than when we first got married," Guthrie says. "We like the same things; we did the same things...Now it's like we can't make a move without the other."

The first witnesses were Rick's young children, and one after another they told the judge that they need their stepmother at home.

"Because she gives us a whole lot of love and attention and everything we need. We love her so much," said one child.

A court appointed psychologist says Suzanne Guthrie suffers from extreme depression and six personality disorders but is not a danger to others.

"I would think think that, if indeed the action in question had been carried out, she would have lasted 30 days," said Dr. Kurt Lutke.

The defense is doing its best to show the Guthries as a loving couple in hopes that the judge will choose probation instead of prison.

Even the youngest child said the family should stay together.

"She helped me take a bath, and sometimes she helps me wash up, and that's all," said the youngest child.

Rick Guthrie said he does not want to talk about the case until it is over.

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