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Arrests in botched murder-for-hire plot that killed sister of intended victim, police say

Authorities in Washington state have made arrests in a botched 2017 murder-for-hire plot that they say left the sister of the intended victim dead.

Alisha Canales-McGuire was gunned down in the doorway of her sister's Everett home in the early morning hours of Sept. 20, 2017, as her two young nieces and nephew slept inside, reports CBS affiliate KIRO. The 24-year-old had been staying at the home of her sister, Amanda Canales, to watch the children while their mother was away on a business trip.

Alisha Canales-McGuire KIRO

The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office says Amanda Canales was the intended victim of the hit ordered by her ex-husband, 31-year-old Kevin Lewis. Investigators say Lewis paid $2,400 to a 20-year-old Tacoma man and 17-year-old Spokane girl to carry out the killing. 

Following an extensive investigation, the two were arrested on charges of aggravated first-degree murder and first-degree criminal conspiracy to commit murder, the station reports. Lewis, already serving time on a 2018 conviction for assaulting Canales after she ended their marriage, faces the same charges and is also being held for investigation of first-degree solicitation to commit murder.

The victim, Alisha Canales-McGuire, was a newlywed and was hoping to have a child of her own, KIRO reports. 

"Alisha is what I want people to remember," Amanda Canales told the station. "She was an amazing sister, an amazing friend to a lot of people, an amazing auntie." 

She said "everybody knew from day one" that her ex-husband was responsible. Canales said Lewis was emotionally abusive to her, and that the abuse later turned physical.

"I think it's important for people to be aware and recognize red flags, and if I had maybe recognized that earlier on my sister might still be here," Canales said.

KIRO reports the two suspects accused of carrying out the botched hit are Lewis' cousin, Jerradon Phelps, and Phelps' teen girlfriend. Investigators say cellphone records show the pair, who were living in Spokane at the time of the murder, drove to Snohomish County at the time of the murder, the station reports. 

Detectives say Phelps posted photos on social media displaying several $100 bills shortly after the killing, and his 17-year-old girlfriend allegedly bragged to several people that she'd been hired to kill someone, according to KIRO.

Phelps is reportedly being held in the Snohomish County Jail and the teen, whose name is being withheld, is being held in a juvenile justice facility.

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