- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A fight broke out Wednesday in a Las Vegas court hallway after a woman was sentenced to almost 14 years in state prison for conspiring with her brother and her son to kill her estranged husband for $250,000 in insurance money.

The 11th floor scuffle involved several women who emerged from a courtroom where Amy Denise Bessey again denied that she had any part in the November 2012 wounding of Robert Bessey as he drove to work before dawn on Interstate 15.

Several armed courthouse marshals intervened, and court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price said two women were issued misdemeanor summonses accusing them of battery. No injuries were reported.

Bessey’s attorneys, Blaine Beckstead and Augustas Claus, didn’t immediately respond later to messages. They have promised to appeal Bessey’s conviction.

A jury found her guilty Nov. 26 of all seven felony charges against her, and prosecutor John Giordani said Wednesday that Clark County District Court Judge David Barker stayed close to a state recommendation in sentencing her to 13 years and nine months to 44 years in prison.

Bessey, 43, won’t be eligible for parole until 2028, Giordani said.

Both Bessey’s ex-convict brother, Richard Pearson, and her son, Michael Bessey, have pleaded guilty in recent weeks to conspiracy and attempted murder. Each could face up to 30 years in prison at their separate sentencings in April, Giordani said.

Pearson and Michael Bessey were arrested shortly after the shooting. Amy Bessey was arrested several weeks later. She also uses the name Amy Pearson.

Police and prosecutors never produced the weapon used in the shooting, but police reported finding the life insurance policy on top of a bag in her room.

Amy Bessey’s defense attorneys said the state relied on circumstantial evidence and unreliable witnesses, including Courtney Smith, the former girlfriend of Bessey’s son.

Smith had been accused in a separate case of conspiring with Amy Bessey to kill Robert Bessey on Father’s Day 2012 by giving him an energy drink laced with poison. Smith pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit a felony. She’s due for sentencing March 26.

Amy Bessey acknowledged during her trial that she told several people she wished her husband was dead. She cast herself as a battered woman trying to get out of an abusive 18-year relationship.

She said she decided to leave Robert Bessey after he drew a gun during a household argument in May 2012, loaded it, and pointed it at her and her children.

She denied enlisting anyone to kill him.


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