- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Bradshaw man has been sentenced to 16 to 20 years in prison for his role in a murder-for-hire plot that was never carried out.

Derrick Shirley, 31, was sentenced Thursday and pleaded no contest to possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony in exchange for his testimony against Robert Honken. Aurora-based Honken was convicted of trying to hire Shirley to kill Honken’s wife, The Grand Island Independent (https://bit.ly/2fO2Tor ) reported.

Authorities said Shirley was paid by Honken, but never tried to kill his wife. According to court documents, Honken then tried to hire another person, but that person instead contacted authorities.

Honken was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in November. He’s scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 20 and faces up to 50 years in prison on each count.

Deputy County Attorney Benjamin Dennis said Shirley’s previous diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder after military service affected his judgment and actions. The judge said Shirley probably accepted the hiring for the thrill, citing that the military probably gave him a similar feeling. Dennis thought Shirley should actually be rewarded for not going through with the crime, but said it doesn’t minimize the fact that he went to great lengths to plan the murder.

“The fact that Mr. Shirley became involved in the first place is troubling,” Dennis said.

Shirley could also potentially be eligible for parole after eight years and complete his sentence after 10 years.

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, https://www.theindependent.com

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