Jury finds trio of men guilty in foiled murder-for-hire plot

Monday, April 11, 2011 at 7:09pm

Three men were found guilty Monday in a case of a foiled murder-for-hire plot that unraveled in March 2009.

A Davidson County Criminal Court jury convicted Brian Dunkley, 35, Donte D. Chestnut, 30, and William I. Miller on conspiracy to commit the first-degree pre-meditated murder of Dunkley’s estranged wife.

The police investigation at the time indicated Dunkley devised the plan to kill his wife to collect on a $300,000 insurance policy during the couple’s divorce proceedings. He hired Miller to kill his wife that February, but Miller was unable to break through her front door.

A fourth co-defendant, Stephanie E. Frame, dated Dunkley at the time and allegedly tried to arrange the murder with Chestnut, who then called another man to kill Dunkley’s wife. That man reported the plot to police.

Police said Frame then arranged to meet the man and gave him a loaded gun and a $200 payment on the $10,000 bounty.

Frame, 32, still faces charges including conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and attempted aggravated burglary in the same case.

Judge Steve Dozier is scheduled to sentence Dunkley, Chestnut and Miller in a May 19 sentencing hearing.