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The Stern-Gaiser Affair: HPD Arrests Alleged Shooter

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A fifth suspect has been arrested in connection with events surrounding the alleged murder-for-hire plot of Yvonne Stern, the Bellaire trial lawyer's wife who survived three recent attempted hits.

Houston police say that 26-year-old Damian Ricardo Flores was the shooter in this case. He was picked up Tuesday on an unrelated charge and now faces a charge of attempted capital murder.

Flores was the shooter in the case in which Stern was actually hit -- both of the two previous attempts on her life saw her walk away unscathed.

Flores's record includes a couple of weapons charges and a couple of middling drug busts -- one for Xanax and two others for weed. At the time of the shooting he was out on bond, having been arrested in November of last year for his first felony -- pot possession (quarter-pound to five pounds), enhanced by the fact he was also carrying a gun at the time.

Michelle Cabrera Gaiser has allegedly admitted to concocting a scheme to kill Yvonne Stern. They say she hired Richard Gutierrez to find a hit man, and he sub-contracted that task to James Steven Lowery, who also passed the buck. Finally, in the first attempted hit, a guy named Nhut Nguyen allegedly fired a shot through Stern's door.

Now Nguyen is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, while Lowery has already pleaded guilty to the same charge (someone later sprayed the Stern home drive-by style) and received 15 years in prison. Lowery still faces a charge of solicitation of capital murder, as do Gutierrez and Michelle Gaiser. Solicitation of capital murder is punishable by a sentence of life imprisonment.

Police say Gaiser wanted Stern out of the way so she could be free to marry her boyfriend -- who just happened to be Stern's husband, -- the lawyer Jeffrey Stern.

Jeffrey Stern was charged with weapons possession earlier this year but is not implicated in the murder-for-hire plot. Nevertheless, Yvonne Stern has filed for divorce. Evidently, the affair was enough. Just because he didn't try to kill you doesn't mean the marriage can be saved.

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