Roane County woman pleads guilty in murder-for-hire plot

Local News

A Roane County woman has pleaded guilty to trying to hire a hitman to kill her ex-boyfriend, but ended up talking with a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent instead.

Laura Buckingham entered a plea Tuesday morning to solicitation to commit first degree murder, which carries a sentence of eight to 30 years. Because she has no prior criminal history, the sentence is only eight to 12 years. In return for the plea, the state agreed to a sentence of 10 years.

Buckingham admitted that she spoke in February 2016 with an undercover TBI agent to have Brad Sutherland, a resident of New Jersey and father of her child, killed by the undercover agent. There are two separate audio recordings of their conversations.

Buckingham’s then live-in boyfriend, Joe Chamblin, a former Marine sniper, had tipped off the Roane County Sheriff’s Office that Buckingham was trying to get him to help her find someone to kill Sutherland. District Attorney General Russell Johnson then brought in the TBI.

Buckingham was released on bail shortly after her arrest in March 2016 because she was pregnant at the time. 

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 18, 2019, to determine the mode of service for her 10 year sentence.

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