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Texas Professor Accused of Making a Hit List

5:15 PM, May 31, 2007   |   0  comments

AUSTIN, TX -- A former University of Texas professor is accused of attempting to take out several of his former colleagues in a murder-for-hire scheme. Gary Wise, 61, was already in jail for previous charges at the Travis County Correctional Complex in Del Valle when he paid an inmate to kill the people on his hit list. The list included College of Engineering Dean Ben Streetman and former UT president Larry Faulkner. Also on Wise's hit list were former Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson and engineering professor emeritus Francis Bostick. "I'm just pleased he's in jail," Streetman said. "He really doesn't need to get out with the kind of attitude he's got." Streetman said Wise made students uncomfortable in the classroom to the point that they fired him. "All of those people had to be involved in the process, terminating a full-tenured teacher is very complicated," Streetman said. It took three years to build a case against Wise, who was fired in 2000. Investigators said that was also when he started shooting at the College of Engineering and at Streetman's house, where a security camera caught him in the act. The crime placed Wise behind bars, where he awaits trial and where jailers said he came up with the plan to kill those who fired him. "It's too bad that people like the president, the provost and the rest of us are targeted, because we were just doing our job," Streetman said. According to an affidavit Wise thought the inmate was a gang member who could kill people outside of jail, but the inmate contacted sheriff's detectives. Throughout his conversations, Wise said he wanted the gang member to use an AK-47 to kill Streetman. The inmate wore a wire when he talked with Wise, and sheriff's detectives gathered enough evidence to charge the professor with solicitation of capital murder. "He took the extra steps of actually paying money out to get this guy to commit the murders, and that's a big no-no in Texas law," said Roger Wade of the Travis County Sheriff's Office. Bostick said he would not comment on the case. If Wise is convicted of the solicitation of capital murder, the felony carries a possible life sentence.