Police Investigation

Feb 9, 2013 10:59 PM

Sheriff: Woman Behind Murder-For-Hire Plot Found Dead

The woman believed to be behind a murder-for-hire plot is dead, according to the McCreary County Sheriff.

Investigators found Regina Stephens of Pine Knot dead in her home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound when they went to serve an arrest warrant for her on Friday, said Sheriff Gus Skinner.

One of the people involved in the crime, Timothy Prater, 30, was arrested Friday afternoon by Kentucky State Police. Prater told police during his interview that he was paid $1,500 to kill Debbie Taylor of Pine Knot.

According to the citation report, Prater and two other men approached Taylor at her home around 5:30 Thursday morning and identified themselves as FBI agents.

The men handcuffed her, assaulted her and used a stun gun, said Sheriff Skinner, who added that Taylor would have likely been killed had it not been for neighbors who responded to the commotion.

The men left the scene after neighbors refused to leave, investigators said.

Prater was booked into the Laurel County Detention Center and charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer, robbery 1st, unlawful imprisonment and criminal conspiracy to commit murder.

The other two men involved in the crime are still at large, Sheriff Skinner said.

Sheriff Skinner told LEX 18 this was not a random crime but a targeted attempt. He said Stephens and Prater knew each other from working at a Pulaski County restaurant.

The sheriff would not comment on a motive but said Stephens knew Taylor's husband.

Additional arrests are expected in the case, investigators said.

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