Attorney accused of hiring hitman to kill wife due in court - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Attorney accused of hiring hitman to kill wife due in court

Fred Auston Wortman (WMC Action News 5) Fred Auston Wortman (WMC Action News 5)

Court documents outline what prosecutors say was an elaborate step-by-step plan formulated by a Collierville attorney to poison his wife.

The court documents say that Wortman tried to hire a hitman from Fayette County to kill his wife. That hitman turned out to be an undercover TBI agent. 

Wortman reportedly gave the agent a down payment to do the deed. The documents also accuse Wortman of providing a map and directions to his wife's home, sharing her schedule, as well as the best approach to follow through with the plan undetected.

The court records also claim Wortman told the undercover agent that he already did a test run and left items at his wife's home that could be used to kill her. 

Wortman appeared before a judge on Thursday morning. 

"There was a brief appearance for him to meet with his attorney," Assistant District Attorney Mark Davidson said.

"Just like any individual, he should be presumed innocent or otherwise proven guilty by a jury," said Wortman's attorney, Bob Brannon.

Brannon would not answer specific questions about the case or even reveal his client's mood. 

In addition to accusations that he hired a hitman, Wortman is also charged with attempted murder in Shelby County. He is accused of poisoning his wife's toothpaste.

Investigators say the poison made her sick and that one of the couple's children may have ingested some, too.

Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Wortman's law license.

"We're going to present our indictment to the grand jury and we certainly hope and expect them to return a true bill," Davidson added.

Wortman remains in Fayette County Jail. His case will go before a grand jury later this month.

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