Guy Staged His Own Death to Stop Marine Ex's Alleged Murder Plot
Brad Sutherland says she wanted him dead
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2016 4:46 PM CDT
Updated Apr 26, 2016 12:44 AM CDT
Laura Buckingham.   (Roane County Sheriff's Office)

(Newser) – Talk about a murder plot: In February, cops told Brad Sutherland that his Marine ex-girlfriend wanted him dead, but her boyfriend—himself a Marine Corps sniper with an infamous past—had warned authorities of the plan. The ex-girlfriend, Laura Buckingham, allegedly tried hiring a hit man who was really a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent working undercover. "When they brought me down to the police station and told me about this, the first thing I said is, 'I’m being punked,'" Sutherland tells the Daily Beast. But no, Sutherland would help Kentucky police stage his own murder so the TBI agent had photos to show Buckingham, who paid him in full (either $3,000 or, the Courier Journal reports, $30,000). Buckingham, 29, was arrested on Feb. 24 and charged with criminal intent to commit first-degree murder.

Sutherland, 31, says Buckingham had PTSD and a violent temper, but he stayed with the Marine-turned-baker after she got pregnant with their son, the Washington Post reports. He even planned to marry her until she was apparently caught with another man and the wedding got canceled. She eventually started dating Joseph Chamblin, a Marine who had achieved some infamy for urinating on Taliban corpses in 2011. Living with him in Tennessee, she was "irritated" at having to drive to Indiana every week to share parenting time with Sutherland, Chamblin told authorities. That's when she allegedly tried to hire Chamblin and ended up seeking a professional hit man. "She wanted [our son] to be with her," says Sutherland, who now has the boy. "And she knew the only way to get her son was to take me out of the picture."