Local News

Friday, Aug 24 2012 08:31 PM

Inmate sentenced to 16 more years for soliciting murders

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

An inmate was sentenced to 16 years in prison for soliciting the murder of two Barstow police officers, the two children of a woman he murdered, and an ex-girlfriend while he was imprisoned at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi.

Kern County Deputy District Attorney Ken Green offered the following summary of the chain of events preceeding Jeami Chiapulis' most recent sentencing.

Chiapulis lived in Barstow and pretended to be a decorated Army veteran while his wife, who was in the Army, lived elsewhere. He had several girlfriends, including Leisa Hurst. Chiapulis killed Hurst and then buried her in the desert.

In November 2009, Chiapulis was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and revealed where Hurst's body was hidden, the Desert Dispatch reported.

Another woman Chiapulis was involved with, Joyce Fransson, pleaded no contest to accessory to murder charges for helping Chiapulis get rid of Hurst's vehicle, telling him where to bury the body and lying to detectives about what she knew about the murder, according to the Desert Dispatch.

Chiapulis was brought to the Tehachapi prison where he met another inmate from Barstow, Green said. Chiapulis wanted the other prisoner to arrange the murder of two police officers who investigated his case, Fransson and Hurst's two daughters. He hoped to get a new trial and to prevent the two girls from testifying at parole hearings, Green said.

The other inmate contacted Barstow police and provided credible information about the plot, including where Fransson lived and the color of the car she drove, according to Green.

The Kern County District Attorney's Office filed five charges of soliciting another to commit murder against Chiapulis in September 2010. He pleaded no contested to two charges and the three remaining counts were dismissed Tuesday, according to Kern County Superior Court records.

Green said the 16-year sentence is appropriate and that because it runs consecutively with his current term, Chiapulis will still be imprisoned even if he is granted parole for the 15 years to life sentence. But Green said "trying to solicit the murder of five people including cops and children" doesn't endear an inmate to the parole board.

Chiapulis was also ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution to Hurst's daughters "who were targeted for murder," according to a district attorney's news release.

Chiapulis is now serving his time outside of Kern County, Green said.

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