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Tennessee man’s text messages reveal alleged murder plot

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A Tennessee man was arrested after his wife found text messages on his phone to another woman that revealed an alleged murder plot.

Jerry McDonald, 49, of Chatanooga was charged with solicitation of murder after his wife found the texts on his phone while he was passed out drunk, according to court documents obtained by the Chatanoogan.

She said she had been trying to contact his job at Erlanger Lifeforce to tell them he would not be in that afternoon when she read the troubling texts. She contacted an off-duty police officer, saying that she feared for her life.

The messages were exchanged to 39-year-old Vanessa Nelson, and revealed a plan to reap the financial benefits of a murder, authorities allege. 

According to the affidavit, In one exchange Nelson asks McDonald, “Do I need to kill her?”

 “Please kill her, babe, please. I’m begging you,” McDonald writes back.

“This b—- is worth a million,” McDonald writes in a separate exchange. “I’m saying we kill her and I collect a million and we live like the kings and queens we are.” 

“So she has a million in life insurance,” Nelson says back.

“Then let’s kill her,” McDonald bluntly responds.

Jerry McDonald
Jerry McDonald’s wife found texts on his phone that revealed an alleged murder plot while he was passed out drunk.
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office

In a third exchange provided in the affidavit, McDonald says “ “There’s over a million in her dad’s safe. I’m saying I won’t get caught.”

 “We aren’t criminals,” she says back in one message

“And we don’t care about money. At least I don’t,” she writes.

“I don’t either but I’m saying we have a way if we choose to. I’m not even joking. All I want is you babe. That’s all I care about,” McDonald said.

McDonald’s wife told police she had been married to him for two years but had known him for 20 years. She told police she had never heard him speak or even joke about murdering someone for money before.

He was booked at the Hamilton County jail where he is being held on a $75,000 bond, records show. He is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 30.

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