Police: Woman charged in widening murder plot

Add another name to the long list of people accused of trying to kill Robert Bessey.

Courtney Smith, 20, was arrested by Las Vegas police Thursday on charges that she attempted to poison Bessey in June.

According to her arrest report, Smith gave Bessey a Red Bull energy drink spiked with arsenic.

Bessey spit out the drink, which had been opened, because it tasted “funny,” according to the police report.

Smith is the ex-girlfriend of Michael Bessey, who is the adopted son of Robert Bessey.

A few months later, Michael Bessey and his uncle, Richard Pearson, were arrested in a highway murder plot to kill Robert Bessey as he drove south on Interstate 15 near the Valley of Fire on Nov. 14.

Robert Bessey was hit in the neck by a shot fired from a gold SUV that pulled next to his car about 4:30 a.m., but he survived. He recognized the SUV as belonging to his brother-in-law’s girlfriend.

Michael Bessey and Richard Pearson were charged in the murder plot in November.

Robert Bessey’s estranged wife, Amy Pearson, was arrested in January and is accused of orchestrating the scheme.

The primary motive appeared to have been a $250,000 insurance policy on Robert Bessey’s life set to expire after the couple’s divorce was finalized, but the relationship between mother and son also appeared to be a factor, police said.

Robert Bessey told detectives that “Michael and Amy were very close,” which prompted the divorce. Family members told Robert Bessey that “Amy had an unnatural relationship with Michael and was too close,” the report said.

Robert Bessey adopted Michael Bessey, who was Amy Pearson’s son from a previous relationship.

Robert Bessey told police he had obtained a letter from his son to his wife.

In that letter, Michael Bessey told his mother “I miss touching you,” the report said.

A witness who knew Michael Bessey and Amy Pearson said they often went to nightclubs together and would “grab each other’s buttocks.”

In a recorded jail phone conversation between Michael Bessey and ex-girlfriend Smith, she is heard saying they would discuss something later “when you’re home in your bed with your Mom or I.”

Michael Bessey also told a cellmate that three people planned the shooting and were shocked his dad survived, the report said.

Michael Bessey told the cellmate he and Amy Pearson were to receive $400,000 in total benefits. He was going to buy a truck, his mother was going to pay off her mortgage, and the two “would never have to work again,” the report said.

When the cellmate asked why Michael Bessey wanted his father dead, he told him Robert Bessey physically abused his mother and mentally abused the family.

Michael Bessey said Robert Bessey had also accused him of sleeping in the same bed as his mom, the report said.

Smith has not yet been charged by the district dttorney’s office. Her case is being screened for possible prosecution.

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.

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