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

Woman charged with murder-for-hire was granted protective order
Ex-husband had been prohibited from contact with Angela Nolen
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Angela Nolen

Friday, February 22, 2013

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

The Moneta woman charged with attempting to hire a hit man to kill her ex-husband filed a protective order against the ex-husband in October 2012.

Angela Robin Nolen, 47, was granted a protective order for family abuse on behalf of herself and the couple's adopted 7-year-old daughter against Paul "Jay" Strickler shortly before the couple divorced in December 2012, according to court records.

The protective order, issued by Franklin County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, prohibited Strickler from having any contact with Nolen and limited his contact with their daughter to three 5-minute phone calls per week, according to the document.

A judge granted the protective order after Nolen had "proven the allegation of family abuse by a preponderance of evidence," the order states.

The protective order remains in effect until October 2014.

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

Nolen met with an undercover state police agent on Feb. 19 and allegedly solicited the agent to kill her ex-husband, Strickler, 63, of Moneta, Austin said.

Nolen allegedly paid the agent $4,000 in cash and agreed to pay another $4,000 when her ex-husband was dead.

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

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 kindergarten 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 said.

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 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.

Nolen is being held in the Western Virginia Regional Jail without bond. Bennett was granted a bond of $60,000 Thursday.

The investigation was based on information provided by an officer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Austin said. An unidentified individual who was allegedly contacted by the women to help them find a hit man reported the incident to the DGIF officer.

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