Last summer, former Colorado Springs attorney Jean-Joseph Danger Le Chiffre found out he hadn’t been included in his father’s will and was apparently furious.
So, police allege, he schemed a plan with his mom, Marcella Sandoval, that he thought would be foolproof.
Le Chiffre would kill his father, Gilbert Sandoval, and his 78-year-old mother would then claim she did it in self defense.
Marcella, who was estranged from Gilbert, would then become her husband’s beneficiary and pledged to split the fortune with her son.
But 55-year-old Le Chiffre, who was born Patrick Joseph Sandoval and legally changed his name to the Bond villain from Casino Royale some time before the slaying, apparently didn’t count on two things going wrong.
At a court hearing on Friday, covered by The Colorado Springs Gazette, police outlined their case against Le Chiffre and Sandoval for the first time, including the missteps that eventually tripped the pair up.
In late July, Le Chiffre and Marcella carried out their plan, according to police. Marcella coaxed her estranged husband into the basement of a home they co-owned, where Le Chiffre was waiting with a baseball bat. He allegedly beat Gilbert to death. Police say they found the bloodstained, cracked Louisville Slugger next to his body.
After his father died, Le Chiffre used a knife to cut his mother’s arms and hands to make it look like she had been attacked, officials said. He left the knife next to his father’s body.
But, police said during the half-day hearing on Friday, investigators were immediately suspicious when they attended the murder scene and had to physically escort Marcella around the house because she was in such poor health.
How, they wondered, could the 78-year-old woman have beat a man to death with a baseball bat, and withstood a knife attack, if she couldn’t even stand up on her own?
Then, possibly as part of a plea deal, Marcella turned on her son and decided to become a state witness. In an August court deposition, she described the lengthy planning that went into the killing.
“She was tired of how Gilbert treated her, was part of it, and the other part was financial—that Mr. Le Chiffre had been cut out of the will,” detective Marcus Lehmkuhl said at the time.
But, in yet another twist, Le Chiffre’s public defender suggested in the Friday hearing that Le Chiffre’s brother, former Colorado Springs cop Mark Sandoval, had got in their mom’s head and manipulated her recollection of events.
His attorneys also disputed the alleged motive, saying Le Chiffre could have still claimed a share of his father’s inheritance, and claimed there was no physical evidence connecting him to the scene.
At the end of Friday’s hearing, Judge Chad Miller concluded that there was likely enough evidence to convict Le Chiffre of first-degree murder, and he ordered Le Chiffre to be held without bond. Le Chiffre has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
As part of her deal with police, Marcella Sandoval was charged with accessory to murder. She pleaded guilty last year and faces two years on probation, according to court documents.