TWO DOCTORS AND A PLOT TO KILL - THE MAN WHO POSED AS A HIT MAN SPEAKS OUT FOR THE FIRST TIME ON "48 HOURS: OPERATION MURDER"
Saturday, Oct. 14, 10:00 PM, ET/PT
Moataz Azzeh, a decorated former U.S. army soldier who pretended to take on a hit job for two Houston area doctors in a murder-for-hire plot, speaks out about the shocking case for the first time ever in 48 HOURS: "Operation Murder" to be broadcast Saturday, Oct. 14 (10:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Valerie McDaniel, a veterinarian, and Leon Jacob, a surgeon, quickly fell in love and even talked of marriage. Jacob was an up-and-coming doctor with plenty of confidence. She was newly single after getting a divorce from her ex-husband, Marion "Mack" McDaniel. But there were some problems. The McDaniels were in the midst of an ugly custody battle, while Jacob was facing felony charges for stalking an ex-girlfriend. If he was found guilty on those charges, it could have upended his medical career. Houston police say that's when Jacob sought the help of a someone he thought was a hit man to eliminate the problems.
"He paid me in cash," Azzeh says of meeting Jacob. "I think he was excited about the whole thing."
Azzeh, known as Taz, tells correspondent Peter Van Sant that he is not a hit man.
"Were you ever willing to murder anyone for money?" Van Sant asks.
"No, no, no," Azzeh says. "I would never do something like that."
Instead Azzeh spent the cash and went silent. Jacob reached out to a local bail bondsman searching for Azzeh. The bondsman called the Houston police. Azzeh went on to help the Houston police undercover agents with the case, which included staging the deaths of the intended targets.
"I saw somebody in danger, and I knew that I can do something about it, and I did something about it," Azzeh tells Van Sant.
Van Sant and 48 HOURS investigate the case against McDaniel and Jacob, and explore the elaborate sting operation the Houston police department used to arrest the couple. The broadcast includes an audio diary McDaniel began after her arrest, police bodycam footage of the sting, and an interview with Jacob. McDaniel, who started recording her diary after being released on bail took her own life 16 days later. Jacob has pleaded not guilty. He is in jail awaiting trial.
"I take no pleasure in having to interview with 48 HOURS about this," Jacob tells Van Sant.
"I'm innocent and as a human being and as a physician, that thought of killing somebody else is, just goes against everything in my nature," Jacob says.
48 HOURS: "Operation Murder" is produced by Susan Mallie, Judy Rybak, Ryan Smith and Claire St. Amant. Marcus Balsam, Michael Vele and David Spungen are the editors. Anthony Batson is the senior broadcast producer. Nancy Kramer is the executive story editor. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.
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