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Staged photos pretend to show torture, murder appears in murder-for-hire trial

Leon Jacob and Valerie McDaniel after their arrest in March 2017.

(Fox26Houston)

Staged photos of a man and a woman allegedly targeted in Houston murder-for-hire plot, the show they pretend to be tortured and bleeding in horrific scenes, were shown in court during the trial of an ex-lover accused of ordering the hits.

The police used the photos of Meghan Verikas and Mack McDaniel for the building of a case against the surgeon Leon Jacob, who allegedly offered undercover officers $20,000 and luxury watches to murder.

Verikas ended a three year relationship with Jacob in January 2017, after an alleged attack and declaration of domestic violence, and stalking against him, the Houston Chronicle.

This is a staged photo with the help of an alleged victim of the murder for hire plot. The appearance of the man was fatally shot during a carjacking @kprc2

A post shared by Ryan Korsgard (@kprc2ryankorsgard) on Mar 21, 2018 at 11:57am PDT

Researchers arranged for the photos to convince Jacob that his ex had been kidnapped.

“I was sitting in a chair in a warehouse and they zip-tied my hands and my feet and put duct tape around my mouth watching me as if I was kidnapped,” Verikas told the court Wednesday, describing the set-up for the staged photos. “I had sat in that parking lot for a longer period of time, so I was crying and very upset.”

Defense attorneys claim Jacob didn’t want his ex-girlfriend murdered, but run out of town, so they could not testify against him on the stalking and assault charges, according to Fox 26.

However, he was to hear in an undercover police recording saying “if they go away, this all goes away.”

Mack’s ex-wife, Valerie McDaniel, a veterinarian who was dating Jacob at the time of the alleged murder-for-hire plot, was also charged with solicitation of capital murder. But she jumped to her death, while in the bond shortly after her arrest last March.

Proof photo of the court of #leonjacob ex-girlfriend staged to appear she is tied up @kprc2

A post shared by Ryan Korsgard (@kprc2ryankorsgard) on Mar 21, 2018 at 10:59am PDT

They reportedly owe Mack McDaniel $1.25 million in a divorce settlement and was locked in a battle over the custody of their daughter, then 8.

“She was under the belief that I was going to carjack him…..And I was going to put a bullet in his head,” one of the undercover officers told the court, with reference to the death, that Jacob allegedly ordered.

In a secret audio recording that was played, the officer is heard saying: “we make it look like a carjacking. A bullet in his head. We call that the double-tap.”

The officer tells Jacob “you need me to go,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

In a recording played Wednesday, taken during the talks at an Olive Garden restaurant, Jacob proposed to the officer to inject with a lethal drug in Verikas’ heart.

“Injecting her heart with potassium chloride to stop her heart, not to be found,” Jacob was heard saying to the fake hitman.

The staged photos are realistic, said the police targeted the exes agreed to be splashed with bloody make-up. McDaniel’s ex-husband was depicted as a corpse killed. Jacob’s ex-girlfriend was photographed bound and gagged.

When they were shown “evidence” of the crimes of last year, prosecutors said McDaniel and Jacob got sick.

“She didn’t want to look at the pictures,” Harris County Assistant District Attorney Nathan Moss had said at the time. “They said, ‘Oh, we don’t want to see, but here is the money, thank you.'”

The pair was then taken into custody.

The defense in the ongoing trial is expected to be the case that he was pressured by the undercover officers to the murders, and he is expected to be the stand itself, CBS News reported.

Jacob could face life in prison if convicted.

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