Facebook Twitter

BIZARRE CASE FEATURES GREED, ROMANCE - AND MAYBE MURDER

SHARE BIZARRE CASE FEATURES GREED, ROMANCE - AND MAYBE MURDER

He was a suave horse trader from Kentucky. She was a wealthy plastic surgeon. He met her, wooed her, married her. She married him, investigated him, left him.

Now he's in jail, accused of arranging the killing of one wealthy heiress and bilking a dozen well-to-do women. A federal judge says he can get out of jail if, among other things, his ex-wife remarries him.Is it any wonder the bride has had cold feet?

"I don't think there ever has been a case like this," Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Safer said Friday. "Some of the actions here are inexplicable."

But greed seems as good an explanation as any, prosecutors say.

The often tangled, mostly sordid investigation in the death of candy heiress Helen Vorhees Brach and a series of show-horse killings has revolved around one Richard J. Bailey.

Prosecutors say he arranged Brach's death in 1977 after she became suspicious he was fleecing her.

Annette Hoffman, a tough-talking plastic surgeon with a practice on Chicago's posh Gold Coast, married Bailey in Las Vegas on April 9 after a whirlwind romance. But Hoffman, who is in her 50s, soon received unexpected news from a private investigator: Bailey had lied about his age and had cheated several women out of money.

Their marriage was annulled April 22.

After Bailey, 65, was arrested July 27 and ordered held without bond on charges including racketeering, mail and wire fraud, money laundering and solicitation of murder, Hoffman appeared again.

"She comes to court Aug. 1 and says, `Well, I don't know what I feel about this guy,' " said Safer.

Days later, she said she wanted to remarry him.

Bailey's attorney, Patrick Tuite, told U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur that marriage would tie Bailey to the community and that he should be freed pending his May 9 trial. Hoffman also agreed to put up her $500,000 home as collateral. Tuite called it a case of love conquering all.

The prosecutor isn't so sure. He gave the judge a taped phone conversation between Bailey and Hoffman in which the two discuss making money on potential movie deals.

"You've got to look at this with a suspicious eye," Safer said.

But the judge said earlier this week that despite "what might be seen as a bizarre resumption of their relationship," if marriage was OK with her, it's OK with him. He set the conditions for Bailey's release, including the marriage, electronic home confinement and no plastic surgery.

Bailey remained in jail Monday while lawyers straightened out real estate papers putting up properties as collateral.

On Wednesday night, Hoffman called a federal agent to say she wasn't so sure about the marriage part. But in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, she said she had obtained a marriage license and planned to marry Bailey in a matter of days.