'Calorie Commando' TV chef jailed for nine years for plotting to have his wife murdered

Guilty: Juan-Carlos Cruz in his mug shot, provided by the Santa Monica Police Department

Guilty: Juan-Carlos Cruz in his mug shot, provided by the Santa Monica Police Department

A former TV chef has been jailed for nine years for trying to hire two homeless men to murder his wife.

Juan-Carlos Cruz smiled and winked at his wife Jennifer Campbell as he was sentenced in a Los Angeles courtroom.

The chef, known as the Calorie Commando, had pleaded no contest to attempting to hire the homeless men to strangle his lawyer wife to death.

He had offered them $500 each to kill his wife and supplied them with details of her movements in the Los Angeles area.

The plan went wrong when the prospective killers went to the police.

The men later secretly recorded Cruz, who had his own show on television's Food Network channel, offering to pay $500 to have his wife killed.

In the sting operation Cruz was filmed driving one of the men to his apartment and showing him how to access the secure building.

He was also recorded telling the hitmen to strangle his wife as 'blood leaves too much mess'.

Police arrested Cruz in May and he was held on $2million bond.

Prosecutors did not reveal a motive for the murder-for-hire plot.

But Cruz's wife was known to be suicidal because of her inability to have children.

The 48-year-old chef told prosecutors she could not kill herself due to her religious beliefs.

Marital home: The apartment block where Cruz and wife Jennifer live in LA

Marital home: The apartment block where Cruz and wife Jennifer live in Los Angeles

Friends speculated that Cruz wanted to end his wife's suffering with what he considered a mercy killing.

Prior to the murder plot the couple had what friends believed was a perfect marriage. They were childhood sweethearts who met at school and had been married for 20 years.

Cruz pleaded no contest to solicitation to murder charges in October in return for an attempted murder charge being dropped.

He is expected to serve half of the nine year sentence.

Cruz began his career as a pastry chef at a Beverley Hills hotel before launching his TV career on the Food Network channel in 2004.

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