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Elderly Man Guilty Of Hiring Hitman To Kill Podiatrist Over Wife’s Substandard Care

Robert Elmo Lee, 83, ordered a hit on Dr. Thomas Shock after his wife’s foot was partially amputated in 2014, according to charging documents.


By Dorian Geiger
Robert Elmo Lee San Joaquin Da

An 83-year-old California man was convicted in the assassination plot on a California doctor who was gunned down at his home more than three years ago.

Robert Elmo Lee was found guilty of first-degree murder with a special circumstance of murder for financial gain for orchestrating the murder-for-hire of podiatrist Dr. Thomas Shock, the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office announced on Friday.

Shock was gunned down at his Lodi, California home on Aug. 1, 2018, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com.

The shooting, investigators say, was sparked by a bitter grudge Lee had harbored against Shock, whom he blamed for the death of his wife years earlier.

Lee’s former spouse had part of her foot amputated in 2014 after Shock treated her for an ingrown toenail, according to a search warrant obtained by Oxygen.com. Shock’s “substandard care” ultimately led to the woman’s foot amputation, investigators said. She died approximately two years later from an undisclosed infection.

“The case was closed in 2016 and Shock was disciplined by the medical board,” the warrant stated, citing a medical board complaint. “Later in 2016, Bonnie Lee died from an infection, however, it is unknown if Shock’s treatment had anything to do with her death.”

A medical board document, which included Bonnie Lee’s initials, was found in the doorway of Shock’s home near his body. 

Lee, who had denied any involvement in the podiatrist’s murder, later told detectives that he was “glad” Shock was dead.

An acquaintance of Robert Lee also disclosed to investigators that the 83-year-old had blamed Shock for his wife’s death and was “angry with him,” over dinner shortly after Shock’s murder, charging documents stated.

Lee was arrested on Sept. 18, 2021.

"The conclusion of this case sends a clear message that my office will hold those who harm members of our community accountable to the full extent of the law," District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a statement on March 24.

Christopher Costello Raymond Jacquett Mallory Stewart

Lee’s co-defendant Mallory Stewart, who prosecutors identified as the shooter, has pleaded guilty to first degree murder in Shock’s death, including an added weapons enhancement. His sentencing is scheduled for May. 

Last year, a judge found Christopher Costello, whose fingerprints were found on evidence at Shock’s home, guilty of participating in the podiatrist’s assassination plot as well. 

Raymond Jacquett IV, 29, who acted as the getaway driver during Shock’s killing, was also convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison for his involvement in Shock’s murder, according to CBS Sacramento.

No further information was released by officials ahead of Lee’s sentencing. Tori Verber Salazar, the District Attorney for San Joaquin County, declined to comment on the case when contacted by Oxygen.com on Monday morning.

Lee is being held without bail at a San Joaquin County detention facility, pending his upcoming sentencing, according to online jail records obtained by Oxygen.com. The Lodi man’s sentencing is set for May 16 at Stockton Courthouse, prosecutors said.

Lee's defense counsel, Jeffrey A. Silvia, wasn't immediately available for comment on Monday when contacted by Oxygen.com.

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