By Kathy Jefcoats
A Hampton woman is due in Magistrate Court today for a probable cause hearing on charges she tried to hire a GBI agent to kill her husband, a Hampton businessman.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Melissa Elaine Blankinship, 37, of 1292 N. Hampton Drive Monday. She is charged with possession of a sawed-off shotgun, criminal attempt to commit murder for hire and criminal conspiracy to commit murder for hire.
She is being held without bond in the Henry County Jail.
Melissa Blankinship has been married to Johnnie Blankinship, owner of Blankinship Plumbing, for less than a year. They have a 4-week-old baby. The Department of Family and Children's Services has reportedly taken custody of Blankinship's four other children.
Johnnie Blankinship could not be reached for comment but his mother said he is physically "OK," despite getting little sleep or food since learning about the alleged plot a week ago.
"He's trying to work and take care of the baby," she said. "He was sort of taken by surprise, just out of the blue an agent comes over and says his wife contracted to have him killed. He didn't believe it at first. I guess you never know people like you think you would."
She said her son plans to attend today's hearing.
According to court records, Blankinship apparently has no prior criminal history in Henry County. Jail records show Blankinship to be an unemployed bus driver but does not indicate for whom she worked. Henry County Schools spokeswoman Cindy Foster said Blankinship apparently did not drive a school bus for the county.
Flint District Attorney Tommy Floyd said GBI agents contacted him late last week about the pending arrest. However, he had no additional information to release about the case.
At the time of the arrest, Henry police Lt. Ken Turner said he'd been told that Blankinship asked an undercover GBI agent to kill her husband. The GBI has reportedly been working the case for about six weeks, which predates the birth of the couple's baby.