Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried to kill you wife.

A Collierville, Tennessee lawyer, 39-year-old Fred Auston Wortman III, admitted in court Tuesday that he first poisoned his estranged wife’s toothpaste, then hired a hit man to kill her (who, incidentally, was an undercover cop), then tried to bribe a fellow inmate to do it.

He used his appearance in court to plead guilty to two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of solicitation to commit first-degree murder…and to apologize to his thrice-intended victim, Staci Wortman, his wife.

“No apology I offer will be sufficient to all who I have disappointed, let down and hurt. I do apologize to Staci, the Joneses, my parents, my family,” he said. “Most of all, I apologize to my three precious children.”

All of this transpired after an investigation and a sting by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation that culminated in his arrest on June 5th.

Then in July, a prisoner in Fayette County jail reported that Fred had offered him $10,000 and his 1998 championship ring for the University of Tennessee Volunteers NCAA football, a ring which he’d earned himself, in exchange for killing his wife.


After the hearing, the woman expressed the relief she’ll have when the divorce is final as well. She’d started those proceedings before his first attempt on her life.

During the hearing, however, Mrs. Wortman nearly broke down as she spoke to him. “Auston (as she refers to him), your children are praying for you daily that your heart will change,” she said.

“I still struggle, but my children are the greatest victims. They know he’s in jail. They know he wanted me not to be alive any more. They know he has to face the consequences.”

Fred Wortman was sentenced to 30 years in prison, but may be eligible for parole after roughly nine years.


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