The Witches of Garland

How a mother and daughter hired a hit man to kill their husband and father, and why they might just get away with it.
The Witches of Garland
Tammie Lafawne Lewis, 31, and her mother, Shirley Bilbrey Hughes, 56

Perhaps you read a brief item in your newspaper recently about two women in the working-class Dallas suburb of Garland—Tammie Lafawne Lewis, 31, and her mother, Shirley Bilbrey Hughes, 56—who had been arrested for solicitation to commit capital murder. According to police, the duo had tried to hire someone to kill Kenneth Hughes, a balding, soft-in-the-middle dispatcher for a waste management company. He also happened to be the father of Tammie and the husband of Shirley.

An odd story, you no doubt thought. A man pursued both by a murderous wife and murderous daughter. It seemed sort of sick, and well—oh, come on now—just a little bit comical.

You have no idea.

If the police department’s story is true, then what took place among the Hughes family of Garland was nothing less than a Texanized version of one of those English upper-class drawing room farces: a portrait of blue-collar domesticity, set in a three-bedroom brick home, that somehow goes insanely askew. The story, strangely enough, also contains echoes of the great John Updike novel, The Witches of Eastwick, which features a group of middle-class, small-town New England housewives who begin to hang out by a bubbling cauldron, devising various nefarious schemes in hopes of rediscovering their own sense of power. Only in this case, Tammie and Shirley reportedly hatched their plot at one of Garland’s Mexican restaurants over cheap margaritas—which, if you think about it, are boiling

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