It was early on Oct. 8, 2010, when Elizabeth Aaron learned that her husband had tried to hire another man to kill her in the midst of the couple’s divorce.
“There was a detective and a police officer in my living room and they told me that I needed to come with them for my safety and the safety of my kids,” she said Tuesday. “I was living a violent life throughout my entire marriage and he had threatened my life before, but it’s still shocking when it’s actually followed through.”
Aaron’s then-husband, Richard Boyd Jr., 42, of Rockville, was arrested later that day after the man he contacted to kill Aaron alerted Rockville police. By that afternoon, Montgomery County police had arrested him.
After his arrest, Boyd wasn’t done, said Montgomery County Sheriff Darren M. Popkin.
“He had the audacity to, even after he was arrested, to continue to try to make arrangements to get to Ms. Aaron and the initial person who he had tried to get to kill her,” Popkin said.
It was this persistence, along with Boyd’s original crime, that helped prosecutors convince Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Eric M. Johnson to sentence Boyd last week to serve 20 years in prison, said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
“This is one of the harshest sentences that has ever been handed out in a case involving solicitation of first-degree murder,” McCarthy said, explaining that the sentencing guidelines for the crime are typically four to nine years. “Obviously this tells you that this judge took the specifics of this case very, very seriously.”
Boyd’s case has been sealed to protect the identity of the second man he tried to hire to kill his ex-wife and the man he first tried to hire. Because the case has been sealed, attorney information for Boyd is not available.
The sentence was the longest given for solicitation of murder in Montgomery County, said Hannah Sassoon, director of the county’s Family Justice Center, a multiagency office that works with domestic violence victims.
From when Aaron left Boyd in June 2009 until his sentencing Nov. 30, she and her two sons have been taken care of by the center, from regular safety checks by sheriff’s deputies to late-night sessions with domestic violence counselors and specialists to help her draft contingency plans and reassure her throughout Boyd’s trial, Aaron said.
From July 1, 2002 until 2009, a total of 48 people were killed in domestic violence-related homicides in Montgomery County, McCarthy said. In 2010, a year after the Family Justice Center opened, there were no deaths.
“I know, based on my experience, that Montgomery County will keep me safe and will keep others like me safe,” Aaron said, adding that she may write a book about her experience or become an anti-domestic violence advocate.
Aaron was in some ways sympathetic to her ex-husband’s fate, despite his abuse and threats.
“He is where he needs to be and I hope that he will get the help that he needs,” she said. “So I can’t focus on a lot of anger because I have to move on for me and my boys.”