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Plainfield man accused of murder-for-hire plot found not guilty

Union Leader Correspondent

December 12. 2017 7:47PM
Maurice Temple of Plainfield is cross-examined by Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway on Monday. (Meghan Pierce/Correspondent)

NEWPORT — A Plainfield man accused of plotting with his mother to kill his ex-wife was acquitted by a Sullivan County Superior Court jury Tuesday.

Maurice Temple, 64, was found not guilty on all three charges — criminal solicitation of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempt to commit murder.

The jury deliberated several hours before the verdict was handed down around 3:30 p.m. The trial started last Wednesday.

Temple and his 83-year-old mother, Pauline Chase, both of Plainfield, were arrested July 27. Chase was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial last month.

Temple’s defense attorney Donna Brown argued during the trial that Temple and his mother had been entrapped by Mark Horne, who had recorded and videotaped several conversations with Chase and some with Chase and Temple about killing Jean Temple.

In court Monday afternoon, Sullivan County Attorney Mark Hathaway had argued against Judge Brian Tucker giving the jury instructions on entrapment.

However, Tucker said there was some evidence that could be interpreted as entrapment. Hathaway said Tucker included entrapment in jury instructions given Tuesday.

Horne, a volunteer firefighter and friend of Temple’s ex-wife Jean Temple, went to authorities after a June 25 conversation with Chase in which he told police Chase offered to pay him to kill Jean Temple. This followed Maurice Temple’s arrest for non-payment of a court-ordered settlement of the couple’s 1999 divorce.

Prosecutors said Chase later gave Horne a $5,000 down payment and wrote an IOU for another $5,000 if the job was completed.

Temple took the stand Monday afternoon and said he considered the ongoing talk about killing his ex-wife as a sick joke on the part of Horne. He said he was shocked when his mother paid Horne $5,000 in cash, but also testified she had paid Horne’s property taxes in the past.

Hathaway said he trusts the jury system and respects the verdict.

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