Griffith pleads guilty to trying to hire man to shoot lead detective

Keith Griffith admitted to killing his wife and burning down their Reidland home on Jan. 17, 2014, when he took a plea deal Tuesday afternoon.

He’s facing 30 years in prison —25 of those years are for murder, setting his home on fire, tampering with evidence, and cruelty to animals. Five years are for a new charge Tuesday: criminal solicitation.

McCracken County Circuit Judge Tim Kaltenbach read Griffith’s rights and asked him if he pleaded guilty to each charge against himself.

“According to the facts stated on the commonwealth offer sheet, it states that between Nov. 12 and 18 of 2015 you commanded or encouraged another inmate at the McCracken County Jail to commit the offense of criminal solicitation in first degree by offering him money to shoot Capt. Matt Carter at his home with a rifle. Are those facts true?” Kaltenbach said.

“Yes, sir,” Griffith said.

Sheriff Jon Hayden says he’s thankful the threat on Carter, the lead detective in the case, in November was reported right away.

“Thank goodness he contacted our agency immediately. Thank goodness for that. Thank goodness that it wasn’t someone that would’ve carried that assassination attempt or found someone else too,” Hayden said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation took over the investigation and turned in the results to the commonwealth last week.

“Whenever you find out that they are after you as well, that will certainly make you stop and think,” Carter said.

As part of his plea deal, Griffith had to say where he put the murder weapon.

“Threw it in the river when I crossed the bridge of Kentucky dam,” Griffith said.   

Once Griffith pleaded guilty to all his charges, Kaltenbach asked if he had anything else to say. Griffith showed signs of remorse.

“There is no excuse for what I did, and I can’t take it back. And she was my best friend, and I don’t know what happened to me," Griffith said. "But I did it, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’d die ten times over to bring her back. I love her with all my heart, and I don’t know what happened. And to drag my family through all of this and friends, just can’t tell you how sorry I am, and there’s nothing I can do about it."

Griffith’s children were not in the room, but the prosecutor on the case says the children wanted to make sure their dad admitted to killing their mom.

The prosecution believes a big reason Griffith entered a plea deal was because of the new charge of first degree criminal solicitation. The defense says “not really”.

“I think just finding his way, and to being able to want to make it right with God, and he was just finding his way to that,” Griffith’s attorney, Michael Bufkin said.

Bufkin says they had talked about a plea deal before Tuesday.

“He’s expressed a great deal of remorse for what he’s done, and I think it is very sincere,” Bufkin said.

Up until Tuesday, prosecutors were preparing for Griffith’s trial scheduled to start Feb. 2. His first trial took place one year ago, and ended in a mistrial.

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