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Ex-Ram Henley gets long prison term for drugs, plot

Former Los Angeles Rams cornerback Darryl Henley is going to prison for trying to hire a hitman to kill two people.

Henley, 30, was sentenced Monday to 41 years in prison for drug offenses and for trying to hire someone to murder a judge and his former girlfriend.The former player pleaded guilty in October to soliciting the murder of U.S. District Judge Gary Taylor, who was overseeing his drug-trafficking trial, and Tracy Donaho, an ex-Rams cheerleader and a key witness in the case.

Two judges sentenced Henley because the drug and murder-for-hire cases were processed separately.

"You've really screwed up your life, didn't you?" U.S. District Judge Manuel Real asked Henley.

"Yes, sir," Henley responded.

U.S. District Judge James Ideman recommended Henley serve his time in the U.S. penitentiary in Marion, Ill., one of the country's highest security facilities.

"It is obvious that he (can be) more dangerous in custody" than out of it, Ideman said. "If ever there was a guy who needed to be locked down 24 hours a day, it's Henley."

Ideman added: "The defendant obviously is a complete and hardened criminal, so any speeches (to him) would be a waste of time."

Federal law requires that convicts serve 85 percent of their sentences before they are eligible for release.

Henley's lawyer, David Reed, didn't return two phone calls.

Prosecutors said Henley paid a Metropolitan Detention Center guard $3,000 a month for use of a cellular phone, and in May 1996 asked a federal undercover agent to murder Taylor and Donaho for $100,000 each.

The government also asserted that Henley was trying to sell cocaine in Detroit to raise the money for the murders.

Henley and four others were convicted of drug trafficking before Taylor in March 1995, based in part on the testimony of Donaho, who said she transported cocaine across the country for Henley.

When asked in October by Judge Ideman if the facts in the government's case were true, Henley replied, "Yes they are, your honor."

Several other people have been convicted and sentenced in the case.