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Hit-plot suspect says not guilty

Detectives say he offered similar deal to two other people

A Medford man charged with hiring someone to kill the mother of his child apparently had solicited the scheme before.

Two people called prosecutors last month and said Richard Linwood Guinn had offered to pay them to murder 42-year-old Judy Weaver, of Phoenix, said Allan Smith, deputy district attorney for Jackson County. The calls came before Guinn's arrest while detectives still were investigating his suspected hit-for-hire deal with a 17-year-old Talent boy, Smith added. He wouldn't discuss further details.

Guinn, 52, pleaded not guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court on Wednesday to charges of attempted aggravated murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated murder and solicitation to commit murder. Investigators say that Guinn recently offered the Talent teen &

36;35,000 to kill Weaver.

The boy and his family told detectives of the plot on March 25 ' two days before Weaver was to be slain after Guinn 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 teen 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 cooperated with police and does not face criminal charges, Smith said.

— Guinn was arrested on March 27 at his home in the 2500 block of Fontaine Circle in east Medford. Two years ago, he 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 a 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. After their daughter was born, Weaver filed a custody suit, claiming that her contract with Guinn was void because she 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.

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

Guinn remained in jail Wednesday on &

36;1 million bail.

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