Woman accused of trying to hire someone to kill husband

Friday, October 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ADA, Okla. (AP) _ A woman accused of trying to have her husband killed allegedly offered an undercover sheriff's deputy three baseball cards as a down payment and promised a total of $15,000 in baseball cards and cash for the death, authorities said.

Brenda Branscum, 41, of Holdenville is being held in the Pontotoc County Jail on $150,000 bail. She was charged Wednesday with solicitation of murder.

Pontotoc County Deputy Trevor Manuel said Branscum offered him baseball cards of Pat Listach, Mickey Mantle and Frank Thomas as down payment after Manuel ``agreed'' to kill her husband.

``I was wired so we'd have the whole thing on tape,'' Manuel said. ``And she kept telling me she wanted him dead. And when I asked her if she was serious about this thing, she told me if she wasn't serious, she wouldn't have brought the three baseball cards to offer me as down payment.''

The Mantle card was a reproduction from 1996. The other two cards were from 1993. Jason Sheueckuck of The Old Ballpark in Oklahoma City said the three cards had a total value of about $13.

Branscum reportedly told Manuel that her husband abused her, but officials in Hughes County said they had no record of assault charges ever having been filed against Branscum's husband.

``There's no record that I can find of her pressing charges against him, or filing for a protective order,'' said Hughes County Undersheriff Marshall Eller.

According to court records, Branscum asked a co-worker at an Ada manufacturing plant to kill her husband. The man contacted sheriff's officials, who had him wear a wire to discuss the plot with Branscum again.

Because the quality of the recording wasn't very good, sheriff's officials had the man tell Branscum that Manuel was a friend who would help carry out the plot.

Manuel and Branscum met Tuesday night in the plant parking lot where she asked him several times to kill her husband.

Court records say Branscum promised to pay Manuel $15,000 in baseball cards and cash. She said she had 6,000 to 7,000 baseball cards and if the cards weren't worth $15,000, she would pay the difference.

As she was being arrested, Branscum told officers the whole thing was a joke.