A Waco man who said he was hired by Joyce Sturdivant to kill her husband in 2007 testified Wednesday that she was angry when he and his neighbor botched the attempt and vowed she would find someone else “to finish the job.”
Ali Abdulla Mohammed, 60, a longtime friend of Joyce and Joe Sturdivant Jr., testified that Joyce Sturdivant offered to pay his $1,200 ad valorem tax bill if he would kill her 68-year-old husband.
Sturdivant, 66, is on trial in Waco’s 54th State District Court on capital murder and attempted capital murder charges in the Oct. 8, 2008, shooting death of her husband of almost 40 years.
Special prosecutors Guy Cox and Alan Bennett contend that Sturdivant shot Joe Sturdivant herself while he was sleeping at their Robinson home after two failed attempts to hire would-be hit men to kill him in September 2007 and September 2008.
Mohammed, who grew up in Waco as William Allen, admitted that he sold prescription pain pills to Joyce Sturdivant because of the alleged frequent beatings she suffered at the hands of her husband.
Despite those alleged beatings, Mohammed said he was close with them both, calling them “Mom” and “Dad.”
He said Sturdivant asked him in the summer of 2007 if he would kill her husband.
“She said she was tired of him,” Mohammed said. “He beat her up and she wanted him killed.”
Mohammed, who said he suffers from kidney failure and two forms of cancer, testified that he recruited his next-door neighbor, Christopher Chatman, to do the job but added that neither man really ever intended to kill Joe Sturdivant.
“She wanted him killed, but I wasn’t going to kill nobody,” Mohammed said. “We were just going to knock him out. I just wanted to slow him down a bit so he wouldn’t beat on her no more.”
Chatman, who testified Tuesday, said he felt later that Mohammed lured him to the Sturdivant house under false pretenses because he never really told him what their objective was. Chatman said Mohammed gave him a knife and a pistol before he left the van, telling him he might need them because Joe Sturdivant slept with a shotgun and a knife nearby.
Mohammed denied Wednesday that he gave Chatman the weapons, saying he must have found them in the van and taken them with him.
Both men said Mohammed stopped to call Joyce Sturdivant at a nearby pay phone to let her know they were on the way. She said she left the door open and put up the couple’s dogs so they would not bark and wake up her husband.
Chatman told the jury that it was dark in the house when he walked in. He said Sturdivant, a short, stocky former race car driver, woke up and immediately rushed him. He said Sturdivant was beating him up before Chatman struck him in the head with the butt of his pistol and fled the home off South Robinson Drive.
Joyce Sturdivant told police she also was assaulted during the September 2007 home invasion. Chatman said he saw her in the bathroom with her fingers in her ears as if she were anticipating the loud blast from a gun. He said he did not assault her.
“He came back sweating,” said Mohammed, who waited in the van in his pajamas. “I said, ‘You were supposed to knock him out and get out of there.’ He was sweating and blowing just like he had run a marathon.”
Chatman said Mohammed was mad at him when he returned to the van and told him he hadn’t killed Sturdivant. Mohammed denied that Wednesday, saying he only intended to “knock him out” while he slept.
An angry Sturdivant called Mohammed the next day and told him he needed to “finish the job.” Mohammed said he told her no.
“I told her I was finished with all that and she said she was through with me,” he said. “She said she would get somebody else.”
In other prosecution testimony, James Bond, of Teague, lifelong friends of Carlos Garcia and Chris Taylor, said he bought a diamond ring from Garcia for $400. He said he thought he had gotten a good deal on a nice ring for his wife until Robinson detectives showed up at his door and confiscated the ring from him.
Deborah Dieterich, a friend of Joyce Sturdivant’s, testified Tuesday that she recruited Garcia to kill Joe Sturdivant in September 2008 for Joyce Sturdivant.
She said Sturdivant gave her two diamond rings that she claimed were worth $20,000 to pay off Garcia and his friend, Taylor, to kill Sturdivant.
The men kept the rings and did not try to kill Sturdivant. Dieterich said Sturdivant demanded that she try to get the rings back from the men, but they refused, Dieterich told the jury.
Testimony resumes this morning.