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Son pleads to plot to kill his mother, will get treatment

By EDIE GROSS

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2000


The bizarre tale of a Clearwater Beach woman who ended up on her son's hit list late last year has ended with a quiet plea agreement in an Iowa courtroom.

Peter Hunter, 50, was charged with 16 felonies in October after police said he hired a hit man to kill or injure his three younger brothers and his mother, Carolyn Hunter, a Clearwater Beach philanthropist.

Last week, Hunter pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit attempted murder in connection with attacks planned on two of his brothers, Jeff, a Des Moines hotel owner, and Dan, a humorist, songwriter and playwright who lives in Boston. He also admitted to a felony count of arranging to have the family's accountant beat up.

Polk County (Iowa) Judge D.J. Stovall will sentence Hunter on Nov. 21. He faces up to 10 years in prison, said Assistant County Attorney Dan Voogt. Hunter was out on $50,000 bail Wednesday, staying in his Des Moines home. During the next few weeks, he will report to a mental health facility for treatment of bipolar disorder. The plea, submitted Thursday, spares Hunter's family from having to testify in his trial, which was scheduled to start this week.

"We spoke with the victims, and we think it's a fair resolution for everyone involved to settle what was a difficult case," Voogt said.

Jeff Hunter issued a statement for the family:

"We are grateful for the kindness of so many who have wished us well and have supported our family during a tragedy which no family should ever suffer," the statement said.

Carolyn Hunter, 73, and her late husband, Ed Sr., have been recognized for their giving to local charities.

Peter Hunter was managing a apartment complex for his mother when police filmed him offering a complex maintenance man $180,000 to kill his family and another $2,000 to beat up Jim Dixon, the Hunter family's longtime accountant.

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