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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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BREAKING NEWS: Two women charged in murder-for-hire scheme
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Angela Robin Nolen
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

Two Franklin County women have been charged in connection with an attempt to hire a hit man to kill one's ex-husband.

Angela Robin Nolen, 47, of Moneta has been charged with solicitation to commit murder, according to Capt. George Austin Jr. with the Virginia State Police.

Cathy Warren Bennett, 37, of Rocky Mount is charged as an accessory to the solicitation, Austin said.

Nolen met with an undercover state police agent on Feb. 19 and allegedly solicited the agent to kill her ex-husband, Paul Strickler, 63, of Moneta, Austin said. Nolen paid the agent $4,000 in cash and allegedly agreed to pay another $4,000 when her ex-husband was dead.

Bennett's charge stems from her alleged attempt to help Nolen procure a hit man to kill Strickler, Austin said.

Both Nolen and Bennett are employed at Sontag Elementary School, Austin said. Nolen is a teacher and Bennett is the school nurse.

"Nothing involving this crime occurred on school property," Austin said.

The women worked together and were friends, he added.

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Austin asked the media to respect the children at the school and not interfere with their education or safety.

Dr. Mark Church, Franklin County school superintendent, noted that confidentiality laws prohibit him from commenting on employees, but he reiterated that the children at the school were never in danger.

"The events as we understand them did not involve the school or any student," Church said, directing his comments to the parents, "and your children were as safe as we reasonably can make them."

Church stated that this is a matter for law enforcement and all questions should be directed to the state police or commonwealth's attorney.

"They (law enforcement) have the facts, not us," he said. "Our focus is on getting the schools back to normal and continuing the instruction and learning that is our mission."

Both women were arrested Wednesday morning and are charged with felony counts, punishable by up to 40 years in prison, according to Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney Tim Allen.

They are both being held in the Western Virginia Regional Jail without bond.

The investigation was based on information provided by an officer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

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