KINGSTON — The pregnant woman accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill her former boyfriend has been indicted on an amended charge of solicitation to commit first-degree murder.
Laura Ann Buckingham, 30, was indicted Tuesday by a Roane County grand jury and is to be arraigned Monday in Criminal Court.
She had originally been charged with attempted first-degree murder.
The case has drawn national attention. Buckingham had been living in Kingston last winter and had repeatedly asked her live-in boyfriend if he could make her former boyfriend “go away,” according to a Roane County Sheriff’s Office incident report.
The live-in boyfriend was veteran sniper Joseph Chamblin, who gained notoriety for a 2011 YouTube video of him and other Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. He later wrote a book about the incident titled “Into Infamy.”
Buckingham allegedly wanted a former boyfriend, Bradley J. Sutherland, now of Charleston, Ind., killed to end a bitter custody dispute involving their 3-year-old son. Sutherland had taken Buckingham to court for custody and visitation rights, according to court records.
Buckingham, in allegedly seeking to have Sutherland killed, stated to Chamblin “that since he (Chamblin) was in the military maybe he had some friends that might could do this for him,” the sheriff’s office incident report stated.
Concerned about her repeated requests about how to kill Sutherland, Chamblin secretly recorded Buckingham and provided those recordings to the sheriff’s office.
A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent posing as a hit man then met with Buckingham and recorded on audio and video “many conversations” with her, according to court records.
Buckingham, herself a Marine veteran who had been stationed in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, was arrested Feb. 24. After her arrest, Chamblin filed a petition for an order of protection against her, saying in an affidavit that she “has threatened me in the past.”
Buckingham is free on $150,000 bond under guidelines that she wear a GPS monitoring ankle bracelet and remain in Tennessee. She’s represented by the Public Defender’s Office.
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