A 34-year-old Odenton man was sentenced to eight years in prison yesterday for offering an undercover police officer $500 to kill his girlfriend's estranged husband.
Steven Ray Fields, of the 400 block of Patuxent Road, pleaded guilty Jan. 26 to solicitation to commit murder, distribution of cocaine and theft charges. He was arrested in 1991 after a three-month police investigation into a drug and fencing operation he ran out of his trailer.
At his sentencing yesterday, Fields tried to blame his crimes on a drug habit that goes back more than a decade.
"Drugs have been a problem with me my entire life," he said.
But Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. said he could not attribute Fields' criminal conduct entirely to drugs, noting that he had an arrest record dating back to 1976.
Assistant State's Attorney Warren M. Davis III said a police informant gathering information on the fencing operation heard Fields say he had found someone to kill his girlfriend's estranged husband. The informant told police, who assigned an undercover officer to approach Fields, pose as a competing hit man and offer to do the job for less money.
Fields agreed to pay the officer $500, undercutting the $1,000 offer Fields said he had, Mr. Davis said. Fields gave him $200 worth of cocaine as "a kind of down payment," Mr. Davis said.
He added that it took more than a year to adjudicate the matter because Fields kept seeking trial delays so he could be evaluated for a drug-treatment center.