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Woman who allegedly tried to hire hit man also faces pot charge

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Culloden woman charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill her former employer over a $700 debt also was charged Thursday with cultivating marijuana.

A confidential informant told police that Gigi Lynn Hinchcliffe, 43, called and texted him numerous times regarding vantage points from where he could shoot Stephen Eric Bias, according to a criminal complaint filed in Putnam County Magistrate Court on June 1.

Putnam Sheriff's Detective Shawn Johnson said Thursday that when police arrived at Hinchcliffe's home on June 1 to arrest her on charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit attempted murder, they saw the plants.

Hinchcliffe's case was bound over to the grand jury Thursday after she waived her preliminary hearing in Putnam County Magistrate Court.

"We had a search warrant for other stuff on the day we went to arrest her," Johnson said. "When we came to court [Thursday] we also charged her with cultivation."

According to a criminal complaint filed in magistrate court, when police arrived at the Hinchcliffe residence on June 1, officers spotted seven marijuana plants growing in flower pots on the front porch and another behind a garage.

Hinchcliffe's husband, Dallas, told police, according to the complaint, that his wife had grown marijuana sporadically for the past 11 or 12 years.

Johnson said Thursday that police would not press charges against Dallas Hinchcliffe.

During the hearing, Hinchcliffe's bail was reduced from $150,000 to $70,000 on the previous charges and lowered from $10,000 to $5,000 on the felony cultivating marijuana charge, according to her attorney, Shawn Bayliss.

"It's a very complicated matter," Bayliss said. "It's never as simple as it seems on the surface. Many other things are involved -- both personal and otherwise."

According to police, Hinchcliffe mailed a man photographs and two hand-drawn maps of the Teays Valley area, showing where Bias worked and where to shoot him.

The man told police Hinchcliffe offered to sell drugs for him as payment for the job. He also told police she wanted him to recommend someone else in the area that could "get the job done for her if he was unable to," the complaint states.

In a phone call monitored by the FBI, Hinchcliffe told the man that if he wore white clothes, he could shoot Bias unseen from the water towers behind where Bias works.

Hinchcliffe had apparently worked for a construction company owned by Bias and his mother, according to police.

Bayliss said the case is complicated with information he couldn't yet reveal and a family history of mental illness. He said Hinchcliffe has previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

"I think through the discovery process we'll learn a great deal more. The final outcome of the case will be very difficult to predict and may be surprising," he said.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.

 

 


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