Karen Tobie and her neighbor Lynne Blake
orchestrate the shooting death of Karen's husband, plumber John
Cataneo, in June 2004 on his doorstep.
Woman Sentenced To Life In Prison For Hit Man
February 7, 2007
VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A Volusia County woman will
spend the rest of her life in prison without any chance of parole.
Late Wednesday morning, a judge accepted the jury's recommendation in
the sentence for Karen Tobie. It was a short hearing, Wednesday. The
judge said he weighed every factor, including the jury's
recommendations, and he agreed with them.
"You, Karen Tobie, are herby committed to the
Florida Department of Corrections for the remainder of your life
without the possibility of parole," the judge said.
Life on the outside is over for Tobie. She was
convicted on January 26 of paying a man $4,000 to kill her husband.
The victim, John Cataneo, was shot to death on his front porch in June
2004. The shooter was one of his employees.
Last week, the jury decided to spare Tobie a trip
to death row, but decided that she should never again be free.
When Tobie's lawyers were pleading with the jury
for lenience, they said she was helping other inmates learn to read
and write inside the jail. They said she has pledged to do nothing but
good work for the rest of her life.
The mother of the victim said she got what she
deserves, saying she still doesn't buy it.
"She's not doing any good out there," said the
victim's mother, Phyliss Cataneo. "I don't think she knows how to tell
the truth, to be honest with you."
The convicted triggerman, Ty Cooper, was also found
guilty in late January. His sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
Woman convicted of
hiring hit man to kill her husband sentenced to life in prison
By Matt Pordum -
Feb. 1, 2007
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.
— The same jury that last week found a plumber's wife guilty of
conspiring to slay her husband spared her the death penalty Wednesday
— and instead decided she should spend the rest of her life in prison
for her crimes.
for about an hour, jurors recommended that Karen Tobie, 41, serve a
life sentence without the possibility of parole for orchestrating the
murder of John Cataneo so she could collect $500,000 in life
Tobie was convicted
of first-degree murder and conspiracy for hiring her husband's
plumber's assistant, Tysjohaun Cooper, to kill him on June 30, 2004.
Although she has
displayed little emotion throughout her trial, Tobie stood and tapped
her fingers nervously on the defense table Wednesday as the jury
entered the courtroom to read its verdict.
With a death
sentenced averted, Tobie turned to her adoptive parents and her sister
and offered them a smile and a wink before she was handcuffed,
fingerprinted and escorted out of the courtroom by bailiffs.
Jeffery Dowdy had asked the jurors earlier Wednesday during closing
arguments to consider that both a "good Karen" and a "bad Karen"
exist — and that the latter only existed when she was under the
influence of drugs and alcohol.
Dowdy reminded the
panel of testimony from Tobie's family members, who described a woman
who made poor life choices because of her drug and alcohol abuse.
He also asked the
jury to look at what Tobie has become since she has been clean and
sober while living in the structured environment of prison.
"That Karen Tobie,
that self-destructive Karen Tobie, is dead. She is gone," he said.
"This life is worth saving, she deserves a vote for life," he said.
Attorney Ed Davis, however, argued that death was the only appropriate
sentence for the "cold-blooded killer."
"This is not about a
good Karen or a bad Karen," Davis said. "This is one defendant who has
done good things and bad things, and one of those was making the
horrific choice of having her husband murdered."
The prosecutor said
that although addictions to drugs and alcohol and coping with
depression are nothing to dismiss, most people who suffer these
problems do not commit crimes.
"This is about what
a 39-year-old adult did at that point in her life, and that's what we
are her to focus on," Davis said. "Lots of people have an alcohol
problem, but there is a large leap between being an alcoholic and
planning a hitman for hire murder."
26, was also convicted of manslaughter and conspiracy to commit
murder. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the
possibility of parole.
the guilt phase of the case on the testimony of an admitted
accomplice, Lynn Blake.
She told authorities
that she, Cooper and Tobie plotted to murder Cataneo because Tobie
feared Cataneo was going to divorce her and relocate with the couple's
4-year-old boy is currently living with Cataneo's surviving family
previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and faces a maximum
sentence of life in prison.
Sentencing Hearing Begins For Woman Accused Of
Hiring Hit Man
January 31, 2007
VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. —
A Volusia County jury is hearing testimony, Wednesday, to decide if
they'll sentence a woman to death for hiring a hit man to kill her
Both of Karen Tobie's adoptive parents took the
stand Wednesday morning. They talked about the two sides of their
child, good Karen, who was always looking out for others, and bad
Karen, the wild child living on the edge.
There were a lot of tears on the stand Wednesday
morning and, for the first time, a hint of emotion from Karen Tobie as
she sat in court. She has, for the most part, remained stoic through
the entire proceedings.
Tobie was found guilty of hiring a man to shoot her
husband to death in 2004. Her father spoke of possible psychological
problems with her daughter, how she told them she heard voices in her
Tobie’s father also told the jury how she bottles
up her emotions, remaining calm and accepting the verdict that was
handed down when he visited her at the jail.
"Karen didn't cry, and I knew that she knew that it
was kind of the end of the trail," said Harold Tobie, the defendant's
As the defense wraps up, Wednesday, the jury will
soon have to decide if they will recommend death for Tobie. They took
two days to come up with the guilty verdict, but they expect the jury
to take much less time with this decision.
Tobie’s co-defendants, Ty Cooper, the alleged
triggerman, and Lynne Blake, a woman who confessed to helping to plan
the hit, will be sentenced at a later date.
Testimony: Witness Says She
Watched Woman Hire Hit Man
January 17, 2007
HOLLY HILL, Fla. — A woman told
a courtroom, Wednesday, she watched her friend hire a hit man to
murder her husband. Karen Tobie could face the death penalty if she's
convicted in her husband's murder.Prosecutors said Tobie wanted John
Cataneo dead so she could collect the insurance money.
The woman on the stand Wednesday
has already cut a deal with the state attorney in exchange for her
testimony. She said she was in on plan to murder Cataneo every step of
After wearing a wire to help
investigators close in on Tobie, it's safe to call Lynne Blake an
ex-friend of Tobie and, on the stand Wednesday, Blake told all.
She said she was tired of him
bullying her and it was time for him to die," Blake said.
Blake said, first Tobie had
planned to do the shooting herself, but the gun she bought jammed
during a test fire. So, Blake said, Tobie went to co-defendant Ty
Cooper and asked him to do the job for her.
"She said that she was going to
have to find somebody to kill John. Tyshon mad some sort of gesture.
'I'm your man,'" Blake testified.
Blake said $4,000 was the asking
price for murder. Tobie planned to pay Cooper with her husband's
insurance money. Blake said she was right next door when the shots
rang out and she knew her friend's plan had actually happened.
"I heard him gasp his last
breath," Blake said.
Blake will be sentenced after
Tobie's trial is over.
Police: Woman hired hit man
to kill her husband
The man had taken out a $500,000
insurance policy. Three people face murder charges
October 10, 2004
HOLLY HILL - A widow is accused of helping plan the
murder of her husband, which police say was fueled by a $500,000
insurance policy taken out by the plumber before his death.
Police arrested Karen Lynn Tobie, her friend, Lynne
Marie Blake, and Tysjohaun Verdell Cooper on first-degree murder
charges Friday in the June 30 killing of John Cataneo.
Tobie and Blake, 56, were being held without bail
at the Volusia County Branch Jail. Cooper was already at the jail on
an unrelated charge.
"This heinous crime can be summed up in one word -
greed," said police Cmdr. Mark Barker.
Cataneo was fatally shot on the front porch of his
duplex on the evening of June 30. His mother, Ann Cataneo, said there
was a knock on the door and her son answered and walked outside.
Ann Cataneo heard four or five loud popping noises,
according to the police report. Her son was shot four times at close
range with a .22-caliber gun, police said.
Police said they discovered several inconsistencies
in their interviews with Tobie and Blake, both of whom had moved to
Seattle soon after the shooting. Investigators said Tobie, 39, offered
Cooper $30,000 to kill her husband. The shooter had worked with
Cataneo for 10 months as a plumber's assistant, Detective Joe Borelli
Police said the motive was the insurance policy
that John Cataneo opened to financially ensure the future of his
2-year-old son, Louis.
Tobie was the beneficiary of the policy.
Police said Blake was a longtime friend who lived
in the second apartment of the duplex owned by Cataneo.