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Huff found guilty in plot to kill ex-wife

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Reprinted With Permission

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CHATHAM — A jury recommended a 10-year sentence last Wednesday for a Dublin man that allegedly tried to pay someone to kill his ex-wife while serving time in Green Rock Correctional Center.

(The intended victim was Susan Renae Huff of Hillsville.)

After deliberating for 30 minutes, the 7-man, 5-woman panel convicted David Eugene Huff, 42, of a soliciting to commit murder charge in Pittsylvania County Circuit Court, taking the word of a former inmate, Michael Anthony James.

“He said ‘it would be a blessing to get the b---- out of my life and find someone to take care of this,’” James said.

The witness said Huff was complaining about having to pay child support after receiving a letter in the mail.

“He said ‘if I could get this b---- out of my life, I could get back to my children and get her out of my life completely,” James said.

James admitted that Huff never asked him to “kill” or “murder.”

“He asked if I would go visit his wife,” James said. “He said he could supply me with information and photos, anything I needed.”

James told Huff he was crazy and left him alone, but was approached again a few days later.

“He asked if I had thought anymore about what he said,” James said, adding that Huff offered him $5,000 for the task.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Dwight Rudd said it was the second confrontation that should lead the jury to believe Huff meant for James to kill Susan Huff, not just “pay her a social visit.”

“This wasn’t just some casual conversation,” Rudd said. “It’s the follow-up that shows the cruelness of what is going on here.”

Defense attorney Glenn Berger tried to impeach James’ statements.

“Do we believe his testimony?” Berger asked. “A man that has been committing offenses for over 40 years; a man that talked to police and got out [of jail] six days later.”

Berger also argued that James never said he was asked to kill anyone.

“The only thing [Huff] asked him to do was to go see his wife,” he added.

Susan Huff took the stand and spoke freely after the conviction.

“I don’t know what I feel,” she said. “I know I’ve been in shock. I know I’ll always live in fear. I know I’ll always wonder what could have happened.”

Susan Huff added, however, she didn’t want to see her ex-husband go to jail for a long time.

“I’m so sick and tired of all the hurt my girls have been through,” she said. “Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I don’t want to see their dad spend 40 years in jail. How heartbreaking will that be for them?”

Judge Charles J. Strauss ordered a pre-sentence report and will formally sentence Huff on Oct. 21.

The investigation by the Virginia Department of Corrections' Office of the Inspector General was sparked by a letter from another Green Rock inmate, identified as Michael Nunnery, sent to Susan Huff, warning her of a conversation he'd heard in the lockup.