Target of alleged murder for hire takes stand

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HARTFORD–The ex-husband of a woman accused of trying to have him killed took the stand on Wednesday for day two of her trial.

Tiffany Stevens, 39, faces one charge of attempted murder. Her arrest warrant accuses her of paying a handyman, John McDaid, $5,000 to kill her former husband, Eric Stevens.

Stevens testified that he approached McDaid about recording his wife while she bought or did drugs. He said he wanted to use the recording in family court to gain custody of their 9-year-old daughter.

According Stevens and testimony from McDaid, the handyman recorded Tiffany Stevens while she was using Percocet at his girlfriend’s apartment. During that conversation, Stevens allegedly asked McDaid to kill Eric Stevens. Afterwards, McDaid said he brought the recording to Eric Stevens.

“He said ‘there’s one other thing that I haven’t shared with you.’ And I said ‘what is that?’ He said ‘there’s more on the tape than just her buying drugs or doing drugs. There’s a confession recording of her talking about killing you.’ I was in shock,” Eric Stevens said on the stand.

That recording was played twice for jurors on Wednesday. At one point, defense attorney Hubert Santos called for a mistrial due to the low quality of the audio, but the motion was denied by the judge.

Fox CT obtained a copy of the tape. This is the edited audio of the evidence that was played:

In the tape, McDaid and Tiffany can be heard allegedly saying the following:

Man: “You go to the electric chair when you’re hired to kill someone.”

Woman: “Let me just tell you something…[inaudible].”

Man: “When you’re f***ing hired to murder someone, you get the f***ing electric chair.”

Woman: “Just do it.”

Man: “Ok.”

Tuesday afternoon McDaid testified, following two Simsbury police officers. He told the court that he met Tiffany and Eric Stevens while doing maintenance on a home belonging to a friend of theirs.

According to McDaid, Tiffany Stevens told McDaid that she despised her ex-husband. “She talked about how much she hated him and what he had done to him and that he abused her and abused their daughter,” McDaid told prosecutor Anthony Bochicchio.

In 2012, McDaid says Stevens took him out to lunch and asked him to find someone to kill Eric. That was before Eric Stevens approached him about the recording.

According to police reports, Eric Stevens also wanted to use the recording in a bitter custody battle over the couple’s 9-year-old daughter.

Defense attorney Hubert Santos spent the afternoon cross-examining McDaid. He started by pointing out McDaid’s lengthy criminal history. Santos also alleged that McDaid told someone in jail that a buddy–Eric Stevens–was paying him to “set up the buddy’s wife.” McDaid denied ever having that conversation.

Eric Stevens told police he has $50 million worth of real estate holdings set aside for his daughter, and whoever won custody of the child would have control of the assets. Tiffany Stevens has maintained custody of her daughter, but police records show Eric Stevens has filed several motions for visitation and has tried proving that his ex-wife is unfit to parent.

Eric Stevens also has experienced legal problems. According to the state’s judicial website, he has pending charges for criminal possession of a firearm and second-degree harassment.

Eric Stevens will be cross-examined tomorrow.

Related stories:

Alleged murder-for-hire trial continues today

Murder for hire trial kicks off with key witness

Murder-for-hire case goes to trial Tuesday

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