Bloomfield mother, Tiffany Khalily Stevens, was arrested in 2012 for hiring a hit man to murder her ex-husband and admits to a history of drug use.
So how did this mother, awaiting trial for attempted murder, retain temporary custody of the couple’s daughter?
The following are excerpts from a never-before-heard audio tape that police used as evidence in their case against Tiffany Khalily Stevens.
Alleged Hit Man: “...You go to the electric chair when you're hired to kill someone."
Tiffany: "Let me just tell you something.... (inaudible)'
Man: "When you're f***ing hired to murder somebody, you get the f***ing electric chair."
Tiffany: "Just do it."
Tiffany: "Please... when?"
Tiffany: "Tell me when."
Police say, that tape reveals that Tiffany Khalily Stevens, hired a local maintenance man to kill her ex-husband Eric Stevens. Khalily-Stevens was arrested in July 2012 when the hit man gave the audio tape to Eric, who turned it over to Simsbury Police.
The following is another excerpt from the audio tape:
Tiffany: "Thank god you have his new address and go f***ing shag his @*s out of where ever the f**k he lives."
Khalily-Stevens was charged with attempted murder, accuse of offering the maintenance man $5,000 to kill Eric Stevens, the father of the couple’s little girl, named Layla.
According to the police report, Eric once owned upwards of $50 Million in Boston real estate and whoever won custody, would get the money. Eric and Tiffany were also in the midst of a bitter custody battle for their daughter.
Eric says he asked the maintenance man to record Tiffany talking about drug use.
Stevens says he was floored when he heard Tiffany talking about both illegal drug use and then a murder-for-hire plot against him.
"Her family is very well-off,” said Mr. Stevens, during an exclusive interview with Fox CT.
It was the first time he’s ever spoken publicly about the situation.
Khalily-Stevens’ father, Edward Khalily, is a multi-millionaire, as a principal of multi-national chemical and mineral corporation “Wego” in New York.
Despite a $1 Million dollar bond, Tiffany was bailed out of jail one day after her arrest.
The Connecticut Department of Children and Families known as “DCF”, conducted an investigation and “substantiated allegations of physical and emotional neglect by Tiffany.”
But DCF doesn’t have the final say – that would be the judge –who relies heavily on recommendations from a state-appointed “GAL” or “Guardian Ad Litem”.
Parents pay GALs to be neutral observers and report to the judge. In this case, it’s Attorney Mary Bergamini of Enfield, CT.
"They came out with a report...and Mary Bergamini's reaction was, 'well I don't believe that report'," Stevens told Fox CT.
Bergamini didn’t respond to our multiple emails, certified letter or phone call asking for comment.
So far, Bergamini, who charges $250 per hour, has collected more than $15,000 in fees from Eric alone, but has not completed her custody report.
Thomas Weissmuller, is a former trial judge, who now serves on a task force established to review the state’s custody laws.
"If there's evidence that indicates that the individual is trying to kill the other parent then you probably want to actually stop the visitation with the child unless it's supervised,” said Weissmuller.
But when it comes to custody cases, there has been mounting criticism of Guardian Ad Litems statewide.
On January 9, a state task force convened to study custody disputes. Approximately 80 parents spoke out at the state’s legislative office building, many arguing that GALs have a conflict of interest and charge exorbitant feeds.
Representative Minnie Gonzalez was there and now she wants to overhaul the state’s system.
“The Guardian Ad Litems - they are appointed by the Judge and some of these Guardian Ad Litems don`t even have the experience. It seems like it is a clique in the court,” said Gonzalez.
Weissmuller also questions the legitimacy of the use of GALs in Connecticut.
"When a GAL makes a recommendation, you want to know what the basis for that recommendation is so you can understand whether it's well-founded,” he said.
Eric Stevens received a phone call from his daughter during his interview with Fox CT in November:
Eric Stevens: "Hello"
Daughter: "Hi Daddy"
Eric Stevens: "Hi sweet heart how are you?"
Nearly two years after Tiffany’s arrest, Eric still can’t see his daughter. He’s only permitted one short phone call each night. He showed Fox CT letters from a counselor who recommended that Eric should be allowed supervised visits.
He’s also filed several motions for visitation with the court and says none were granted by the Judge. He questions whether Attorney Bergamini is truly operating in the best interest of his daughter.
"You have a woman: known drug addict, multiple suspended drivers licenses, has custody of our child, while out on a million dollar bond, awaiting a trial for 25 years to life,” said Stevens.
In a New York state police report, a semi-conscious Tiffany Khalily-Stevens told officers she was using cocaine and oxy condon, after they found her in her car after going missing for hours.
But Eric’s allegations stem largely from evidence in the audio tape:
Tiffany: "I was taking some oxy. But I can't have anything show up in my system."
Allged Hit man: "Amen."
Alleged Hit Man: "Did you get caught?"
Fox CT questioned Tiffany about the case outside her criminal court hearing on the attempted murder charges, back in November:
Beau Berman: "Beau Berman with Fox Connecticut News here, we wanted to see if we could ask you if it's true that you did hire someone to kill your ex-husband. Do you have any comment? He's been speaking with us and telling us things about you so I wanted to see if I could get your side of the story to be fair."
Tiffany did not say a word.
After a year and a half of continuances, at the November hearing, Tiffany’s Attorney, Hubie Santos, told the judge he essentially wants the court to drop the charges if Tiffany was a drug addict when she allegedly hired the hit man.
Meanwhile, Eric says he’s nearly given up hope of ever getting his daughter back, who turns nine years old, next month.
"My daughter stopped saying to me, 'I love you' about a year ago. I understand that my relationship's been seriously damaged and I can't fix that, but I can make sure it doesn't happen to the next father,” said Stevens.