PLATTE CITY, MO. — A woman whose parents are serving life prison terms for killing her former husband has pleaded guilty to plotting his death with them in a fraudulent scheme to collect life insurance money.
Chrysta Mize, 29, was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday after entering her plea to the charge of conspiracy to commit murder. Ten days after their divorce, Thadd Mize, 28, was shot and killed as he drove along a dark street on Kansas City's north side.
He and his former wife were in a dispute about child visitation, and the shooting in December 2001 came shortly after he had returned the two boys to her, dropping them off in a store parking lot.
Jimmy and Brenda Williams, parents of Chrysta Mize, both were convicted of first-degree murder and armed criminal action and are serving life in prison without the chance for parole.
Thadd Mize, talking on a cell phone with his girlfriend after dropping off his sons, told her that the Williamses were following him. She said she heard popping noises and that Mize then told her Jimmy Williams had just shot him.
Wednesday in Platte County Circuit Court, Pat Mize told Judge Abe Shafer about the anguish her family suffered.
"My son died alone on a street with two bullets in him, drowning in his own blood," she said, choking back tears. "He died not with a kiss on his lips, not with a sweet goodbye, not a prayer said beside him, and surely not with his loving sons beside him."
Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said after Wednesday's hearing that it brought an end to the two-year saga.
He said that while Chrysta Mize was not directly involved the night her former husband was slain, "the evidence shows she agreed with her parents that he would be killed and tried to profit from his death."
"Justice has now caught up with her, and she will face the consequences of her actions," he said.
Before Wednesday, Mize's attorney, Patrick Peters, had maintained there was no evidence linking her to the conspiracy to kill Thadd Mize.
Peters said Wednesday that she wanted to plead guilty because she wanted to bring an end to the ordeal.
"It was really time for closure," Peter said after the hearing. "She wanted this, and to her credit she wanted closure. She never knew her parents wanted to kill Thadd."
Zahnd said Thadd Mize's signature had been forged on papers for a $150,000 life insurance policy, and that he learned about the policy when the premium notices were forwarded to his apartment after his divorce.
He had mailed a notice canceling it the day he was killed. The policy first was drawn to cover payments on the house where the couple lived. It was later changed to make Chrysta Mize and the children the beneficiaries.
Prosecutors said Chrysta Mize inquired about the policy on the day her former husband was buried and that she did not attend his funeral.
Thadd Mize had sought a protection order against Chrysta Mize and her father, alleging they had been stalking him.
He wrote in a diary that he feared and was intimidated by his former in-laws.
One entry read: "Nov. 14 -- If any harm comes to me it is because of Jim Williams, Chrysta's father, please make him pay for his crime."