Ironton woman gets 8 years for role in murder-for-hire plot

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 29, 2007

Unrequited love will send a woman to prison for eight years.

Valerie Mantle, 37, of 722 Vernon St., Ironton, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

In exchange for her guilty pleas, Lawrence County Prosecutor J. B. Collier, Jr., dismissed one count of felonious assault.

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Mantle admitted to Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper she tried to hire what she thought was a hit man to kill her ex-husband, Joseph Cox. The person she thought was a hit man turned out to be an undercover police officer.

Cox attended the hearing with family members and told Cooper he doesn’t know why Mantle did what she did, but he is afraid nevertheless.

“I don’t know if she did it out of jealousy. We have a child between us. There is a question if the child is mine,” he said. “She put a lot of us in danger. I’m going to get married again. She (Mantle) put her in danger. Her mom, sister, brother, dad. We never knew anything like this (plot) was going on.

“I don’t know what’s going through her mind. I wanted to end the relationship in 2004 when we got divorced. I’m afraid when she gets out of prison she might try to do this again. I ask for your protection for me and my new family.”

Mantle said she was sorry for what she had done, but that she was “led stray” by another person.

“I’m looking forward to getting rehabilitation so I can clear my mind of what’s happened,” she said.

As for Valerie’s mother, Barbara Mantle, her case was continued two weeks. She is charged with the same crimes.

Both women were arrested last month after people told police the two women were trying to hire someone to murder Cox. The two women met with the undercover officer, whom they thought would take their murder-for-hire assignment, and agreed to pay him $500 and a bottle of prescription pills to murder Cox.

They were arrested at that time. Both women remain in the Lawrence County Jail.