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Va. kindergarten teacher and school nurse charged in murder-for-hire plot

Franklin County, Va. kindergarten teacher Angela Nolen (left) and school nurse Cathy Bennett are charged in connection to a murder-for-hire plot aimed at killing Nolen's ex-husband.
WTVR
(CBS/AP) ROCKY MOUNT, Va. - Angela Nolen, a Franklin County kindergarten teacher, is charged with trying to have her ex-husband killed, and a school nurse is accused of helping her.

Virginia State Police arrested Nolen, 47, and Cathy Warren Bennett, 37, on Wednesday. Nolen is charged with solicit to commit murder and Bennett is charged with conspiracy. Both work at Sontag Elementary School.

Nolen is accused of paying $4,000 to an undercover state police agent who she believed was a hit man on Tuesday. She planned to pay another $4,000 after her ex-husband, 63-year-old Paul Strickler, was killed, state police Capt. George Austin told media outlets.

Austin said an unnamed person contacted the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries after Nolen and Bennett asked them about finding a hit man. The state police then got involved.

Details and a possible motive weren't released.

"I'm afraid for my life," Strickler told The Roanoke Times. "I still feel that way. If someone knocks on my door, I won't answer it. I'll dial 911."

Court records show Nolen and Strickler were granted a divorce in December 2012.

Strickler said that he had been trying to work out an arrangement with Nolen in which she would buy their house from him.

He said he met Nolen while both were working in the Franklin County school system. He formerly was a schools administrator in the central office.

Strickler said Nolen has full custody of their 7-year-old adopted daughter. He expects a custody hearing will be held soon.

"I'm extremely sad and I'm extremely worried," Strickler said. "It's not only a marriage. It's trust, it's children, it's all the things that you build over 17 years."

Franklin County Schools Superintendent Mark Church told CBS affiliate WDBJ-TV that no students were ever in any danger.

WDBJ reports that Bennett's bond was initially set at $60,000, but Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney Tim Allen appealed the ruling and it has now been increased to $75,000.

  • Crimesider Staff

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