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Guinn indicted in connection with murder plot

Weaver's family said that Guinn continually threatened her after Judy Weaver won custody of their daughter

A Medford man has been formally charged with trying to kill the mother of his 3-year-old daughter.

Richard Linwood Guinn, 52, was indicted Wednesday on charges of attempted aggravated murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated murder and solicitation to commit murder, said Allan Smith, Jackson County deputy district attorney. Investigators say Guinn recently offered a 17-year-old Talent boy &

36;35,000 to kill 42-year-old Judy Weaver of Phoenix.

Guinn intended to have Weaver slain on March 27 after he picked up their daughter for a scheduled visit, said Colin Fagan, a detective with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department. Guinn had met with the 17-year-old boy more than once to discuss the murder plan and payment, Fagan said, adding that several hours of their conversations were recorded via a wire hidden on the boy's body.

The boy and his family ' acquaintances of Guinn ' told police of the murder plot two days before it was to be carried out, Fagan said. Guinn was arrested on March 27 at his home in the 2500 block of Fontaine Circle in east Medford. The boy cooperated with police and does not face criminal charges, Smith said.

— Two years ago, Guinn and Weaver contested custody of their daughter in a case before Oregon's Court of Appeals. The child was born in May 1999 after Weaver agreed to be the surrogate mother to Guinn's child in exchange for &

36;12,000. Weaver was to conceive through artificial insemination, as stipulated in a written contract.

The couple later decided to conceive without medical assistance but reportedly did not alter the written agreement. Weaver met Guinn, who works at a local mill, through a mutual friend in 1998.

When their daughter, Riki, was born, Weaver let Guinn take the baby home, according to a September 2001 story printed in the . But Weaver filed a custody suit about a month later, court records show.

Weaver claimed that her contract with Guinn was void because the couple did not conceive through artificial insemination, as stipulated. Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Phil Arnold awarded Weaver custody but granted Guinn substantial visitation rights, according to court documents. Arnold also ordered Weaver to return half of the &

36;12,000 payment to Guinn, who contested the verdict.

Oregon appellate judges in 2001 affirmed Arnold's verdict, indicating that judges are not bound to uphold surrogacy agreements in determining what is in a child's best interest.

Weaver's family said that Guinn continually threatened her after she won custody of Riki, including telling her that their custody battle wasn't over after the Court of Appeals decision.

Guinn remained in jail Tuesday on &

36;1 million bail.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail .