By Missy Diaz
June 11, 2007, 4:23 PM EDT
WEST PALM BEACH -- A Wellington drug runner who tried hiring a hitman to kill his wife to avoid a $2.5 million divorce settlement will spend 15 years in prison for his crimes.
Glenn Sandler, 54, who owns the popular Gourmet Deli House west of Lake Worth, pleaded guilty Monday to cocaine trafficking and solicitation to commit murder.
As part of his plea agreement, Sandler was ordered by Circuit Judge Edward Garrison to pay a $250,000 fine and to forfeit his four-seater Mooney M20J airplane and a motorcycle. In exchange for the plea, Prosecutor Caroline Shepherd dismissed a third count, attempted first-degree murder. He will receive credit for 580 days he has already spent in jail. In September, Sandler's attorney, Richard Lubin, filed a motion to rely on an insanity defense at trial. As a result of a psychotic disorder, Sandler didn't know what he was doing or comprehend the consequences of his actions when he offered an undercover deputy $25,000 to kill Betty Sandler in October 2005, according to Lubin's motion.
In the midst of a contentious divorce, Sandler met with what he thought was an assassin to eliminate his wife. He told the undercover that he had previously tried to hire someone else for the job but that the man ran off with the money.
Sandler gave the purported hitman Betty Sandler's description and address as well as information about her daily routine. Betty Sandler was notified of her husband's plan.
At the same meeting, Glenn Sandler, according to police, bragged about flying drugs from Colombia to Miami. The deputy asked him to fly 11 pounds of cocaine from Lantana to Sebring, which Sandler did. The following day, the deputy brought Sandler keys and a cell phone belonging to Betty Sandler as proof the killing had taken place. Sandler was arrested in the Home Depot parking lot in Greenacres.
Lubin said Monday that his client pleaded guilty because he is guilty, and that while mental health experts concurred about Sandler's mental state at the time, waging an insanity defense is a risky proposition.
Betty Sandler attended Monday's hearing but declined to comment afterward. Citing safety concerns, she asked that Sandler not be placed in a South Florida prison, but the request was denied.
The judge agreed to delay sending Sandler to the Department of Corrections for 30 days because of his mother's poor health. He's had his own share of misfortunes since his incarceration, including the deaths of his father and his 22-year-old son, who died in a motorcycle accident in January 2006.
Missy Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-228-5505.