Randall Freeze: South Texas Town Planner Cleared of Alleged Murder-for-Hire Plot

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"If it wasn't so devastating on my client's life, it's almost comic."

So said defense attorney Arnold Govella, whose client Randall Freeze was no-billed by a San Patricio County grand jury this week.

Last year, Freeze, head of the Aransas Pass Planning and Zoning Commission and a leading area citizen, was alleged to have attempted to hire a handyman to drown his ex-wife Melissa Rangel, with whom he had been warring for the seven years since their split. The handyman, a friend of Rangel and her husband, told police that Freeze offered him $500 to do the deed and took a recording to police of a conversation police and Texas Rangers thought showed Freeze's intent.

The grand jury did not agree, and Freeze has been vindicated.

Govella said the handyman has a history of substance issues and emotional problems, and that the tape he took to cops was taken out of context.

Freeze, 42, and Rangel have been wrangling over the terms of their child's custody since 2004. Final disposition of that battle is set to occur in a couple of months. Govella told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that Rangel hoped that this false accusation would tip the odds in her favor, permanently.

For her part, Rangel still insists that she is in fear for her life. She says she lies awake in bed worrying about every bump in the night. Govella frets about the damage to his client's reputation, and even when the supposed perpetrators are completely vindicated in a court of law, people sometimes have a hard time forgetting about wacky murder-for-hire plots.

And you thought your divorce was rough...

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