Woman to plead guilty in murder-for-hire scheme targeting ex

Posted at 4:12 PM, August 2, 2023 and last updated 8:15 AM, August 4, 2023


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Court TV) — A Colorado woman is scheduled to plead guilty on Thursday to charges she tried to hire a hitman to kill her ex-boyfriend days before a scheduled custody hearing.

Vanessa Rae Lavaty, 34, was charged with solicitation, conspiracy and criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder after allegedly asking her live-in boyfriend and an undercover officer to kill Timothy Hanes, her ex and child’s father.

Hanes and Lavaty shared custody of a 2-year-old girl, and the two were due in court on May 19, 2022, regarding custody issues. Hanes was seeking additional time with their daughter.

In an affidavit obtained by Court TV, Colorado Springs police said that Lavaty’s live-in boyfriend, Marty Jorgensen, contacted officers on May 16, 2022, after she asked him multiple times to find someone to kill her ex. Jorgensen told officers that Lavaty, whom he had been dating for approximately one year, had asked him for the last four months to use his connections to find someone willing to commit murder.

Jorgensen, who has a criminal past, told officers that he initially had not taken Lavaty seriously and brushed off her requests, telling her to “stop being crazy” and telling her that she didn’t really want Hanes dead. But Lavaty repeatedly asked him to find someone, to the point where he became uncomfortable and was concerned that if he didn’t intervene she would find someone else to kill Hanes.

An undercover officer, posing as a mechanic willing to perform the murder, met with Jorgensen and Lavaty and accepted money in exchange for the intended murder. According to documents, Lavaty told the officer that she had no preference about the method of murder, but specified that she did not want her daughter present and mentioned the upcoming hearing.

Jorgensen told officers that following the meeting with the undercover officer, Lavaty still wanted to move forward with the plan and was “essentially counting the benefits of him being gone.”

Days before a jury trial was scheduled to begin on August 7, Lavaty is scheduled to appear in court to plead guilty to the charges.