LIT UPDATE 2021
Waco attorney charged in murder-for-hire plot disputes CPS flight risk claims
Originally Published; Jan 7, 2021 | Republished by LIT: Jan 30, 2021
A former Waco attorney under indictment on a murder-for-hire charge must continue wearing a GPS ankle monitor while awaiting trial on allegations she and another attorney plotted to kill her ex-husband.
Judge Thomas West of Waco’s 19th State District Court denied a motion from Chelsea Tijerina to remove the tracking device, but did extend her nightly curfew by an hour and lifted travel restrictions to allow her to travel freely in Texas.
Tijerina, 33, and attorney Seth Sutton, 46, were arrested in May on solicitation of capital murder charges, accused of plotting to hire a hit man to kill Tijerina’s ex-husband, Waco attorney Marcus Beaudin.
Tijerina and Sutton remain free on $1 million bond each and both are wearing court-ordered GPS ankle monitors as a condition of their bonds.
Judge Thomas West
Sutton was able to amend travel restrictions placed by the terms of his bond in an agreement with the DA’s office in October.
At a brief hearing Thursday, McLennan County First Assistant District Attorney Nelson Barnes opposed Tijerina’s request to remove the ankle monitor because of the serious nature of the allegations and because Child Protective Services officials reported to Barnes’ office that they consider her a risk to flee with her two children should the monitor be removed.
Tijerina’s attorney, Jessi Freud, disputed the notion that Tijerina is a flight risk and objected to Barnes’ assertions. Freud declined comment after the hearing.
In the motion to amend Tijerina’s bond conditions, Freud said the ankle monitor is no longer necessary to secure Tijerina’s presence in court or required to ensure the safety of the community.
The motion states Tijerina is living in Hays County and alleges the monitor is hampering her ability to find a job, limiting her ability to enhance her child visitation rights and is limiting her ability to exercise. Tijerina has one child with Beaudin and another child from a previous marriage.
“The monitor also causes bad bruising, especially when she tries to exercise regularly, and exercise is vital to her mental health at this time,” according to the motion.
She and Sutton are charged with trying to hire an undercover Waco police officer, who had infiltrated Sutton’s motorcycle club, to kill Beaudin. No trial date has been set.
Arrest documents state the officer started riding with Sutton’s motorcycle club, the Red Mouse Cult MC, and became a prospective member. Arrest affidavits do not specify how much Sutton and Tijerina offered to pay for her ex-husband’s death or say why they wanted him killed.
According to arrest records, Sutton solicited the undercover officer May 14 to kill Beaudin, and the two talked about the plot before Sutton offered to pay for the gun and to help the officer leave town after he committed the murder, records show.
Two Texas Lawyers Tried to Hire Undercover Cop to Kill an Ex-Husband: Court Docs
Seth Andrew Sutton and Chelsea Tijerina are charged with planning to pay for the murder of Tijerina’s ex-husband.
Originally Published; May 23, 2020
WARNING: DISTURBING NEWS
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— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) December 1, 2020
I specialize in murders of quiet, domestic interest. – Agatha Christie
A well-known Waco, Texas defense lawyer, who once ran for county district attorney, sat behind bars on Saturday after a local police sting allegedly caught him plotting to kill a colleague’s ex-husband using a hitman, according to arrest affidavits obtained by The Daily Beast.
Seth Andrew Sutton has long held an upstanding reputation in Waco as a criminal defense lawyer, successfully defending clients in high-profile cases like the aftermath of the Waco biker shooting.
But, in lieu of separate $1 million bonds mandated by a local judge, Sutton and his colleague, Chelsea Tijerina, may not soon see the outside of the McLennan County Jail.
The would-be killer, the affidavits show, was actually an undercover policeman all along, and police arrested Sutton and Tijerina on Friday under felony charges of conspiracy to commit capital murder.
Sutton’s wife did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast on Saturday. It was not yet immediately clear if he had retained an attorney in his case. (Tijerina is less well-known in the community but works at Sutton’s firm, and the Baylor University Law School graduate has taken on pro-bono cases via the university’s veterans’ clinic.)
The intended target of the alleged murder-for-hire plot, Tijerina’s ex-husband Marcus Beaudin, is also an attorney in Waco. He was taken into custody in February on a charge of indecency with a child for allegedly molesting an unspecified 10-year-old member of his family in December. The 10-year-old reported the incident to her mother. Beaudin denies the allegations, according to The Waco Tribune-Herald, which first reported on Sutton’s arrest.
According to the affidavits, the plot to kill Beaudin was extensive.
Sutton first allegedly contacted the undercover officer and met with him on May 14 to plot the assassination, the affidavit claims. On May 20, Sutton purportedly offered to acquire a gun for the murder and told the officer he would financially assist the purported hitman with moving out of town once the deed was done, according to the affidavit.
The next day, Tijerina allegedly gave the officer information about Beaudin’s whereabouts and details of his home necessary for successful completion of the “job.”
Both Sutton and Tijerina, in hopes of concocting alibis for themselves and their gunman, gave a timeline the crime should follow, the affidavit claims. On May 22, Sutton gave the officer $300 to buy a gun, according to the document. They were arrested later that day.
Waco Police spokesman, Sgt. Garen Bynum, did not respond to a request for comment on the case.
Seth Andrew Sutton’s Firm Bio; Sutton, Milam & Fanning
Seth Andrew Sutton is an entertainer by nature.
He spent several years in New York City after college performing in bands and pursuing a musical theater career. However, the transition into practicing law has been incredibly smooth and natural.
“I love trial,” explains Sutton. “Being half performer and half sports fan…trial is like competitive theater. There’s nothing better!” he jokes. “But in all seriousness, my vast experience of breaking down scripts and finding the truth and the emotion have proved to be excellent preparation for defending my clients. The story of the case is my script and the jury is my audience. I connect with them and I don’t miss the ‘moments’.” And the results have shown. Sutton has tried and won as many criminal trials in McLennan County as anyone over the past few years.
Always looking for innovative ways to improve his trial advocacy, Sutton is now part of the TCDLA (Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association) statewide DWI faculty, teaching other Texas lawyers on topics such as Jury Selection and Cross Examination in DWI’s.
Sutton has also been recognized for successfully drawing upon his own experiences in creating “out-of-the-box” trial strategies for his clients. This has also turned into two more popular seminars that he gives at legal conferences: “Theater in the Courtroom” and “Utilizing Presentation Software Technology During Your Trial.”
Sutton graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications from Texas Tech University in 1996 before attending Baylor Law School where he received his Doctorate of Jurisprudence. He spent a brief stint in Las Vegas, NV practicing federal criminal law before returning home in 2006 to begin defending Texans.
Seth is the proud father of four strapping young boys: Isaac Andrew, Noah Gabriel, Asa Owen and Jonah Wayne.
Areas of Practice
- Criminal Law
- Family Law
- Probate Law
- Personal Injury
- Baylor University School of Law, Waco, Texas
- Doctorate of Jurisprudence
- Texas Tech University
- B.A., Bachelor of Arts – 1996
- Major: Telecommunications
- “Theater in the Courtroom”
- “Utilizing Presentation Software Technology During Your Trial”
- DWI Faculty, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association