Valley couple accused of plotting to kill man, woman after baby death

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- A Valley couple was arrested Wednesday after allegedly plotting to kill two people.

Jessica Ann Griffin, 23, and Jerry Laverne Horne, 25, both transients, were allegedly seeking revenge on a man and woman they believe killed Griffin's young nephew, according to court documents.

The 15-month-old boy was pronounced dead at a hospital Feb. 24, after he stopped breathing at a hotel off Black Canyon Highway near Peoria Avenue.

Witnesses told Phoenix police that the child was put down for a nap on the bed and later found unresponsive. However, police say the child had visible signs of trauma.

The cause and manner of death have not yet been determined by the Maricopa County Medical Examiner.

Griffin is the baby's maternal aunt and main caregiver, and Horne is her boyfriend, according to court documents.

The baby was reportedly in Horne's care when he died.

The two people Griffin and Horne allegedly conspired to kill were also in the hotel room that day and have been contacted by police as part of the death investigation, according to court documents.

Police say Griffin and Horne are currently considered leads in that investigation.

Griffin allegedly engaged in a drug transaction with undercover Phoenix police detectives on March 12, unaware of their occupations, and asked them if they could find her a gun to kill the man and woman. When the detectives told her she should not do that, she allegedly asked them to do it for her.

Griffin allegedly told the detectives her nephew was beaten and strangled with one of his toys, and she wanted the man to die in the same manner.

Police say Horne told the detectives he could locate the man and woman through Facebook, and the couple promised to steal four vehicles as payment for the detectives.

They were arrested Thursday afternoon near 79th Avenue and Bell Road. They each face two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, a class one felony.

Both Griffin and Horne have preliminary hearings scheduled for March 31.