The wife of a D.C. police lieutenant found shot to death in the garage of his Bowie home in September told authorities that she hired a man to kill her husband so she could collect $1 million in life insurance money, according to police sources and charging documents made public in court yesterday.
Nicolle Baxter, 31, told Prince George's County homicide detectives that she hired Hayes Capers Jr., also 31, to kill her husband, Garret Allen Baxter, according to the sworn charging documents filed by police. Sources familiar with the investigation said Nicolle Baxter told detectives that she hoped to collect insurance money.
She was arrested last Thursday and Capers on Friday, and both were charged with first-degree murder in the Sept. 20 shooting death of Garret Baxter, 34. Appearing separately in Prince George's District Court yesterday via close-circuit television from the county jail, both defendants were ordered held without bail pending preliminary hearings Nov. 27. Neither entered a plea to the charges.
On the morning of Sept. 20, Nicolle Baxter, sounding distraught, telephoned Prince George's police and reported finding her husband shot to death in the garage of their two-story brick home. There were spent shell casings on the floor.
According to police charging documents, Nicolle Baxter voluntarily met with homicide investigators last Thursday and submitted to an interview after waiving her constitutional right to remain silent.
"The defendant then admitted to hiring the co-defendant to shoot and kill the victim for money," the charging documents state.
Baxter told detectives that her husband had a $1 million life insurance policy and that she had agreed to pay $200,000 to Capers for pulling the trigger, the sources said. They said that after telling detectives about the alleged conspiracy with Capers, Nicolle Baxter spent Thursday night at a Greenbelt hotel under police supervision.
On Friday, she called Capers and made plans to meet him that evening at the Outback Steakhouse in Largo, saying she would give him $5,000 of the $200,000 she had agreed to pay him for the slaying, the sources said.
When Capers returned to his car after receiving the money from Baxter, a team of police officers surrounded the vehicle, the sources said. They said Capers drove his car in reverse into a police van before he was arrested. The arrest was videotaped by a camera mounted in a nearby police car, the sources said.
The sources said Baxter, a stripper turned real estate agent, continued to cooperate with authorities after her arrest.
Before the slaying, the Baxters had struggled with financial difficulties, according to court records. The problems included bankruptcy and a mortgage lender's foreclosure on the couple's $550,383 house. Garret Baxter earned $75,000 annually as a police lieutenant.
The allegations against Nicolle Baxter and Capers are similar to a 2001 case in which an Upper Marlboro bail bondsman paid a District prostitute to kill his wife in the garage of their home. Last summer, a Circuit Court jury convicted Dean J. "Dino" Pantazes of hiring the prostitute to kill his wife, Clara.