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Murder-for-hire jail time up in air

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The attorney representing the Lake of the Pines man charged with two felony counts of soliciting the murder of his next-door neighbor said Thursday his client could be released from jail in as little as two years.

Under California guidelines, which give William Weismann credit for time already served since his April arrest, defense attorney James Roberts said his client, 66, could be out of prison before his 70th birthday.

Weismann changed his plea to no contest Nov. 14. He remains held without bail at the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility and is allowed no personal contact with visitors. His Lakeshore North home is currently being rented.

Weismann was arrested after paying Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy Scott Kolb $5,000 to kill Weismann’s next-door neighbor, Tom Wess Jr. Weismann previously approached real estate agent Lou Sans and asked him if Sans would kill Wess for $5,000.

Superior Court Judge Albert P. Dover is scheduled to sentence Weismann Jan. 12.

Roberts said his client entered the no contest plea due to a variety of factors, including the cost of a lengthy trial and the fact that Weismann could serve an additional year in jail even before the trial begins.

Once Dover sentences Weismann, Roberts said his client would be given credit for time already served, and under a complex set of state sentencing guidelines, could serve as little as 13Ú4 years.

Prosecutor Ron Wolfson was in court Thursday and did not return calls seeking comment.

Roberts said he considered a number of scenarios for his client while weighing a plea agreement. During the preliminary hearing, Roberts maintained that his client should only be tried on one count of soliciting murder. The defense believed that Weismann, embroiled in a property dispute with Wess, asked only the sheriff’s deputy to commit the crime.

When visited by a reporter at his Lakeshore North home Thursday, Wess declined comment under the advisement of his attorney, Tim Hodgson.

“I can’t comment, but this is more complex than just the Wesses and the Weismanns,” he said. Wess’ home is decorated with an American flag and yellow ribbon tied to one tree, and he spoke from his living room, which leads to a deck out on the lake.

Hodgson did not return a call seeking comment.

The prosecution has maintained that Weismann first asked real estate agent Lou Sans to commit the crime for $5,000 before Weismann asked Kolb to kill Wess.

Prosecutors have credited Sans for alerting authorities of the plot.

Roberts said his client never wanted Wess killed, only harmed.

“The record makes it fairly clear that Mr. Weismann was entrapped … He was a man in need of help and instead of the government helping him, they hatched a plot to make it worse for him.”

The fact that Wess was never notified of the plot until Weismann’s arrest points to the discrepancy, Roberts said.

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