When she received a telephone call that "the beast is deceased" one night last January, Betty M. Holler testified softly yesterday, she knew that a murder-for-hire plot had been carried out.

Holler, 37, of 416 N. Howard St., Alemandria, played the role of go-between in helping to arrange the murder, she said at a preliminary hearing for Jamie A. Scarborough in Fairfax County General District Court. Scarborough is accused of hiring two men for $7,000 to kill her estranged husband, George H. Scarborough.

As Holler testified, Scarborough, dressed in a red and white blouse and white shirt, sat attentively with her hands folded in front of her or with her chin in one hand.

Relatives of the victim and several service station operators who were friends of Scarborough, a Texaco station owner, also listened to Holler's testimony.Some wiped tears from their eyes as Holler described the murder-for-hire scheme, her soft voice sometimes dropping to a level that the audience couldn't hear. Holler said she first met Jamie Scarborough, 44, at Holler's wedding last December. She said Scarborough asked her in January if she would "engage in killing her [Scarborough's] husband."

She said she told Scarborough she couldn't kill her husband, but might be able to find someone who would be willing to do it.

Holler said Scarborough told her that Scarborough's estranged husband "was trying to have her killed" and said that Scarborough was angry at him.

Holler said she contacted a friend, Charles D. Stewart, 21, of Clinton and that Stewart and James T. Clark Jr., 21, also of Clinton, agreed to kill Scarborough.

Holler testified that she assumes Scarborough asked her about finding someone to kill her husband because "she knew I was familiar with the drug scene."

On Jan. 31, she said she received two telephone calls from Mrs. Scarborough. The first was in the afternoon when she called to say that her husband had gone to Richmond for a meeting. The second call was around 9 that night when Scarborough said her husband had returned and was at his service station on Backlick Road in Springfield.

Later that night, Holler said, she received a call from Stewart who said, "the beast is deceased."

According to police, Scarborough was killed as he walked in the front door of his town house at 6541 Yadkin Ct. in Franconia.

Holler said that Stewart and Clark were given a total of $7,000 in two separate meetings at the Shirley-Duke shopping center in Alexandria. She was given a car by Mrs. Scarborough on which there was $2,500 left to be paid in monthly installments, she testified.

A preliminary hearing for Holler also was held yesterday. Charges of murder against both women were sent to the grand jury.

Stewart and Clark were arrested last month and both their cases also have been sent to the grand jury.