US: Mere 12 years behind bars for Texan offering $10,000 & Rolex watch to have wife killed Print E-mail

Saturday  February 17, 2007

`You have ripped out my soul,' Katy woman tells husband

In tearful rebuke, she faces sentenced spouse who wanted her dead

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

Dr. Shelley Sheroke addresses her husband, John, at a hearing in which he pleaded guilty to solicitation of capital murder and was sentenced to 12 years in prison (Sharon Steinmann: Chronicle)

With angry tears falling down her cheeks, Dr. Shelley Ferrill Sheroke on Friday confronted the person who offered $10,000 and a Rolex watch to try to kill her ­ her husband.

"You have painted filth on everything I hold sacred," she told John Sheroke in a victim's impact statement at a hearing in which he pleaded guilty to solicitation of capital murder and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

"You have ripped out my soul," she said.

After the sentencing, Shelley Sheroke, 36, cried as she upbraided her estranged husband for almost 10 minutes for his "greed, lust and sheer laziness."

"You coveted everything I worked for, and yet resented my success," she said. "You refused to put in the work to create the life you wanted."

The murder plot was foiled when police were alerted that John Sheroke, a physician assistant, approached a former co-worker at a Houston hospital Oct. 10 about arranging the killing of his wife, prosecutor Brad Hart said.

Sheroke brought $1,500 to the meeting and was recorded telling a police officer posing as a hit man that he wanted his wife's slaying to look like a carjacking gone bad, Hart said. He said Sheroke promised $8,500 more after receiving proof that his wife was dead.

He could have faced punishment ranging from probation to 99 years or life in prison had he been convicted of solicitation of capital murder.

In court Friday, Shelley Sheroke ­ flanked by friends and family ­ also invoked the couple's two children in her statement.

"You wanted me gone. And then who would teach (our children) right from wrong? You? The man who murdered me?" she asked. "As they struggle to make sense of it all, I sit in horror at the thought that I could be gone, and you could be comforting them."

Sheroke's attorney, Jim Barr, stood next to him as he faced his wife's alternating shouting and whispering. Barr could not be reached for comment Friday.

Facing her in an orange jail uniform, John Sheroke didn't respond and only shook his head once while his wife talked about his greed and girlfriend.

"You once called me 'the brass ring,' " she said. "I thought you meant that I was everything that you wanted. What you meant was that I had everything you wanted."

She asked him who would pick up the pieces after her "violent death." She also told him he would have been caught.

"I'm left here with the reality that the man that I thought was God-breathed for me is not only just a really good liar, but he's evil," she said. "You wanted the easy way out, and the easy way out threatened my life."

John Sheroke has been in custody since November, when state District Judge Jim Wallace revoked his $100,000 bail for sending books to his family.

The novel Sheroke is accused of sending his wife ­ For One More Day ­ was written by Mitch Albom and tells the story of a man whose family and career are falling apart, and who gets an opportunity to spend a day with the ghost of his mother. Sheroke also sent a note asking his wife not to tell authorities that he had contacted her because the judge had told him not to do so after he made several calls to her from jail and sent her a letter.

Shelley Sheroke reminded her husband of the media attention the case has drawn as her statement was captured by TV cameras. "You've turned our lives into some really bad made-for-TV movie," she said. "You stained my name."