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Serial burglar who tried to flee jail faces 4 life sentences

Marcus Houchens

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – The Louisa County commonwealth’s attorney said a 25-year-old man has pleaded guilty in connection to a crime spree after he tried to break out of jail once his plan to have girlfriend and family lie in court backfired.

Marcus Houchens was convicted Thursday on six counts of burglary, four counts grand larceny and five counts of property damage, according to Louisa Commonwealth’s Attorney Rusty McGuire.

Authorities said Houchens broke into numerous homes in Louisa, Fluvanna and Albemarle counties in September and October of 2010 and stole thousands of dollars of property, including firearms. Authorities said he then sold the items to friends and pawn shops in the region. 

Authorities said Houchens broke into numerous homes and stole thousands of dollars of property and then sold the items to friends and area pawn shops.

Law enforcement identified Houchens when they spotted him on a pawn shop’s surveillance video selling some of the stolen items.

However, McGuire said Houchens refused to plead guilty, even after learning about the video evidence. 

But an Albemarle detective found out that Houchens had written letters from jail asking witnesses to lie for him as his jury trial in Louisa neared.

McGuire said when those witnesses arrived expecting to testify, they were arrested on  conspiracy to commit perjury charges. At that same time, officers from all three jurisdictions executed search warrants at the witnesses’ homes.

McGuire said investigators found letters from the defendant telling the witnesses exactly what to say to create an alibi and discredit other witnesses. 

In one five-page letter addressed to “wifey,” McGuire said Houchens clearly asked his girlfriend to lie during the trial.

“Really, and truly though I need you to testify to help me with this case…. I really don’t want you to be involved, but now that you are, it’s best for me in my defense. I’m gonna say that I never lived down there…”

The letter continues with specific instructions about what to say to contradict previous statements to investigators. 

“You need to say all the same things I just said. All, everything to the T. Also you never witnessed me with a gun… They gonna ask you why you said that to the police. You need to tell that you found out I was cheating, and was having a baby by another girl. That we had been trying, and you never got pregnant. And when you found out, you lost it. You wanted me to hurt, you wanted something to happen to me.”

The letter goes on and on, even becoming quite graphic about the couple’s sex life, before wrapping up.

“Baby I’m sorry I’m going in and getting all ******* mushy. I just love you. I’m about to lay it down. Please write me back. Love, Your Husband” 

Officials said when Houchens learned the letters had been discovered and that his trial was continued, he tried to break out of the Central Virginia Regional Jail. 

 “This is the worst case of trying to commit fraud on the criminal justice system,” said McGuire, who praised the detectives work.

Houches faces four life sentences and up to 125 years in prison. His sentencing is slated for Nov. 1.

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