By Jon Schroeder

The Cove Herald

LAMPASAS — The fourth member of a murder-for-hire plot that culminated in the shooting death of Hidi Gower last October was indicted Wednesday by a Lampasas grand jury.

Jeremiah John Ellison, who testified in the trial of shooter Chaka Romain Johnson earlier this month, joins Johnson, Donald Dean Gower (Hidi Gower’s husband) and John Robert Martinez with his indictment. All have been charged with capital murder, and Johnson already has been convicted and sentenced to life without parole.

Ellison, Martinez and alleged co-conspirator Regina Edwards all testified in Johnson’s trial. Ellison and Martinez spoke out under oath as the result of carefully worded agreements between their respective attorneys and 27th District Attorney Larry Allison. When those agreements were brought up at trial, all denied that any arrangement existed — both documents refer to a possible “recommendation” on Allison’s part that the conspirators’ testimonies not be used in their own trials.

The state’s case against Edwards, who was once engaged to Gower and slept with Johnson in the days leading up to the July 4 murder of Hidi Gower at the Kempner Veterans of Foreign Wars post, was dropped earlier this year.

During Johnson’s trial, both the prosecution and defense repeatedly asserted that Ellison, Martinez and Gower were guilty of capital murder, defense attorney Eddie Shell going so far as to advance his own theory that either Ellison or Martinez shot Hidi Gower.

Donald Gower has undergone two mental evaluations in the time since his arrest last July in Kansas, and both he and Martinez still are in jail.

According to testimony in the Johnson trial and arrest affidavits, a murder-for-hire plot was advanced by Donald Gower, who at various times in 2007 offered both Ellison and Martinez $25,000 (later $10,000) to kill his wife. The plot, set at different times for two different locations, ultimately was borne out in July when Donald Gower sent his wife to get Benedryl out of his car in the southern parking lot of the Kempner VFW. Hidi Gower was then shot three times with a .45 single-action Colt revolver, leaving five wounds in her chest, head and neck. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to testimony, Ellison was the middle man in the scheme, passing keys, money for a gun and information back and forth between Gower and Martinez, who was originally set as the shooter. Ellison, identified by Martinez’ testimony as a member of the notorious “Crips” gang, introduced Gower and Martinez though a cocaine deal.

The night of the killing, Ellison was at home alone, according to his testimony, while Martinez and Johnson went to the VFW. Ellison, referred to as “Miah” throughout the Johnson trial, was at the Kempner VFW earlier in the day, along with Johnson, Martinez and another man never charged with a crime in connection with the murder.

Contact Jon Schroeder at jons@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7475.

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