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Woman sentenced in murder-for hire scheme

March 17, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

A year-long feud marked by harassment and a murder-for-hire scheme ended Monday in Washington County Circuit Court when a Pennsylvania woman entered guilty pleas to stalking and solicitation to commit murder.

Shelley Ann Hams, 23, formerly of the 700 block of Hykes Road, State Line, Pa., was sentenced to five years in prison on each count. She was given credit for a year she spent in jail awaiting trial.

Judge Darrow Glaser suspended the balance of the sentences and placed her on probation for three years.

He also ordered her to have no contact with the victims.

Hams apologized in court to Nicole Hoffman and her mother, Linda Hoffman.

"I never meant for this to go this far," Hams said.

Linda Hoffman told Glaser that she and her daughter were "quite traumatized" by the incidents.

No motive was disclosed.

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The episodes date back to February 1995, according to Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion, who said Nicole Hoffman and Shelley Hams were co-workers at Citicorp at the time.

A pattern of stalking began and then flowers were delivered to Nicole Hoffman at work, at her home or were left in her driveway.

There also were lots of cards and telephone calls and even a wreath left on the Hoffman's father's grave, Cirincion said.

Hams was arrested in mid-January 1996 on charges of harassment, telephone misuse and stalking, police said.

She was released on $10,000 bond.

On Jan. 23, 1996, Hams was charged with attempting to influence a witness in the case, police said. She was then released on $25,000 bond.

The continuing investigation revealed that Hams then entered into an agreement with a Hagerstown man to kill Linda Hoffman, the mother of the woman she was accused of stalking, police said.

The man, who was offered $500, never acted on the agreement despite continued prodding by Hams, police said.

She was taken into custody on that charge on March 16, 1996, and has been at the Washington County Detention Center ever since, court records said.

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