2 sentenced in Pitt County murder-for-hire plot

2 sentenced in Pitt County murder-for-hire plot (Reporter: Amanda Brannon)

PITT COUNTY - A man and woman have been sentenced for plotting to hire a hitman so they can have two people killed.

Edelmira Najera Nichols, 59, and John Alton Moore Jr., 65, both of Fountain, were each ordered to serve between four years and 10 months to six years and 10 months in prison. They pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of solicitation to commit murder, court officials said.

According to police, Nichols and Moore conspired to hire a hitman to kill Nichols' former husband and the ex-spouse of Moore's son, who both live in Farmville and work at Nichols Tires.

Tommy Shackelford, of Farmville, is the man the lovers approached to murder the two people. 

According to Pitt County District Attorney Kimberly Robb, the couple promised Shackelford, "a life estate in a house, plus a lifetime supply of gift cards to Wal-Mart."

"I went home honestly and I told my girlfriend, I was like 'Somebody wants me to kill somebody.' ...Obviously, I knew I wasn't going to do it," Shackelford said.

"The last conversation they had with him. They gave him money to purchase a firearm and money to get out of town after he murdered these 2 people," Robb said.

The plan was for Shackelford to kill the pair at Nichols Tires early in the morning. But instead of following through, Shackelford called Edelmira's ex-husband, police got involved and Shackelford actually wore a wire to help catch the couple red-handed.

But the story doesn't end there. The bigger twist? Shackelford almost died 2 years earlier when his wife tried to poison him and when that didn't work she stabbed him in the head. She was convicted and sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison, according to Shackelford.

"I ain't never hurt nobody. Why am I going to hurt somebody now? After what I went through [with my wife], for them to ask me, shocked me," he said.

Shackelford said he is just glad no one got hurt and the couple is in prison.

"She had that same look that my wife had, and in that moment I knew, she would have killed Alvin herself," he said.

Nichols and Moore were arrested on May 10 and were each originally charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy.

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