Charlene Childers testifies to planning the killing of Josh Niles with her husband Tim Dean; Dean's defense notes her history of lying
SODUS — "Justice needs to be served, my kids need that closure because whoever did it made it where my kids grew up without a dad."
Those were the words from Charlene Childers to the Daily Messenger's news partners News 10NBC in the days following the murders of Josh Niles and Amber Washburn.
In court on Tuesday, Childers admitted that she and her husband came up with a plan to kill her ex, Josh Niles, but that his girlfriend, Amber Washburn, was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Childers was charged with the murders of both Niles and Washburn, but she was offered a plea deal to testify against her husband — who investigators believe was the one who pulled the trigger.
Shackled and wearing an orange jumpsuit, Childers admitted she knew who did it and in fact, helped plan the whole thing. Childers testified that she was devastated to lose custody of her children to Josh Niles and told her husband, Tim Dean, she wanted Niles killed.
From there, she testified, they came up with a plan to do it.
Childers said Dean stole a 9mm gun from the police department in Sunray, Texas, where he used to work and still had a key for, thinking it couldn't be traced.
She says she then watched Dean load up a rented SUV with that gun, a shotgun, an automatic rifle and another handgun along with soft body armor and dark clothing and leave for New York.
On cross-examination, the defense pointed out that Childers has a history of lying — to the news cameras at the vigil; to prosecutors when she was first questioned; and to her husband Dean, to whom she says she was being unfaithful. She admitted to all that on the stand but said now she's telling the truth.
"The truth is the truth when it serves her, and that is something that the jury is going to have to deal with when discussing this case. She has told many different versions for many different reasons, and most of them seem to be self-serving," said Joe Damelio, Dean's defense attorney.
When asked whether the defense would put Dean on the stand, Damelio said, "We don't know yet, we don't know yet."
Childers' plea deal still requires she spend 28 years in prison.
In the courtroom Tuesday, there was a number of times she stared directly at Dean for several seconds. Attorneys say she has written him 47 love letters since they were both arrested but that she also has a boyfriend who has visited her in jail 61 times.
Testimony is scheduled to resume Wednesday.