Dad Says Hitman's Job Not Done!
DENVER, COLORADO - A man will spend his life in jail along with the hit man he hired from jail to kill his wife and family, but surviving relatives say they aren’t safe even with the man who tried to have them killed behind bars.
Police encountered an unthinkably gruesome scene at the home of Robert and Tammy Rafferty in February 2011.
At the end of a trail of human teeth lay the body of Robert Rafferty, an ordained minister, in a pool of his own blood.
He’d suffered a gunshot wound, stab wounds in the neck, and showed evidence he’d been beaten.
The body of Amara Wells,39, lay nearby, too bloody for police to see the gunshot wound, but with the deep gash in her neck visible.
The intruder had also tried to set fire to the Castle Rock, Colorado home.
Amara Wells was the Rafferty’s sister-in-law, her husband Christopher Wells was Tammy’s brother.
After years of escalating drug use, violent threats, and a restraining order barring Christopher Wells from having contact with his wife and daughter, Amara Wells took her daughter and moved into the Rafferty home out of fear her husband would harm her and her daughter.
But on February 23, 2011, Wells was harmed anyway.
A man dressed as a ninja entered the Rafferty home and brutally slayed Robert Rafferty,49, and Amara Wells, all while Wells’ 6-year-old daughter Alex watched, horrified.
The investigation and later accounts would paint Rafferty as a hero who fought to his death to protect the 6-year-old and her mother.
Sgt. Jason Weaver of the Douglas County, Colorado sheriff’s department was among the first to arrive at the scene and would later testify to all its gory details, but also to an uplifting one.
Alex, who’d only just seen her mother and uncle savagely slaughtered, was trying to be strong.
Prosecutors in the case said that Alex woke up and saw the attacks, then ran to a neighbor’s to call 911.
Investigators logically suspected Chris Wells, who’d been arrested four times for violating the restraining order his wife held.
According to the family, former Chippendales dancer Wells was once dashing, but had become heavily addicted to methamphetamine and increasingly hostile in the time leading up to his wife leaving with the girl.
While Wells’ and her daughter settled into life with the Raffertys, Christopher Wells’ behavior took and an even more disturbing turn.
Amara Wells’ sister Melissa Brown described one particularly horrifying incident the occurred after Chris Wells called to say he was dropping by to leave his wife and daughter’s belongings at the end of the Rafferty’s driveway.
‘All of the sudden I heard [Amara Wells] scream,’ Brown said. ‘She was standing there holding her wedding dress and he urinated across it and wrote a profanity.’
Though he seemed disturbed enough to have committed the heinous crime, investigators hit a roadblock when they realized Wells was in jail at the time of the double murder.
Weaver and the other investigators remained convinced of Wells’ involvement, however,
They visited the car dealership where Wells worked and interviewed his co-woker, 27-year-old Josiah Sher.
Sher had a suspicious wound on his head and police took him in for questioning.
Sher would eventually admit to the killings and implicate three others, including Wells, in the killings.
He told them a middle-man named Micah Woody offered Sher, on behalf of Wells, $5,000 each for the murders of his Wells' sister Tammy, his wife Amara, and brother-in-law Robert Rafferty.
After using cocaine leading up to the crime, Sher told police her was driven to the home by an accomplice named Matthew Plake.
After a lengthy struggle with Rafferty, Sher says he managed to shoot and kill both him and Amara Wells.
Matthew Plake would later confess he’d been behind the wheel of the getaway car that night but not involved in the actual slayings.
During most of the trial of Wells, Woody, Plake, and Sher, Wells maintained his innocence.
The prosecution had a powerful case without Wells’ confession, but 6-year-old Alex would be forced to take the stand and recount the heinous crimes she witnessed.
The family had to decide if they wanted to put Alex on the stand and pursue the death penalty or allow Wells to plead guilty and spend the rest of his life in prison, sparing Alex.
They chose to spare the girl and Wells agreed to confession on the condition he be allowed to tape a message for his daughter to watch.
‘He put together a very short, cold videotape, basically that he wouldn't be able to see her anymore,’ Amara Wells’ brother Jack Brown told ABC.
‘Oddly enough, that, you know, she should be a good girl and stay out of trouble and not to do bad things.’
Woody and Plake will spend the next 46 years behind bars for their cursory roles in the crime.
Sher and Woods were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
But surviving family like Tammy Rafferty, who was fortunate enough to be out of town on business the night of the crime and lives on in spite of the price tag once on her head, says instead of relief she feels only fear.
She says her brother regularly receives cash from an unknown associate and prison officials confirm as much but say they are in control of how Wells uses the money while in prison.
‘I know what Chris does when he has access to money,’ Rafferty said.
‘His job isn't done, I think he wants to come after me because I wasn't home that night.
And I think he wants to come after Melissa and Ed because they are now the parents of my niece.’
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