By Christina Calloway
Kristi Guss said she is praying her husband can come home soon. She does not believe he tried to hire someone to kill her, as alleged in federal court documents.
Cody Guss, 36, is in the custody of U.S. marshals who have declined to reveal his exact whereabouts. Officials say the Portales handyman and father of three met with an undercover officer of the Amarillo Police Department on March 26 in Clovis to provide the officer with a key to his residence and a hand-drawn map. Cody Guss promised the officer $5,000 in exchange for his wife’s slaying, which he wanted to be staged to look like a suicide, records show.
Kristi Guss, 34, said Wednesday she doesn’t believe her husband would ever try to kill her, but she is taking precautions to keep herself and her children safe in the event there is someone trying to harm her.
“I don’t believe he’s capable of doing this,” she said from the couple’s residence.
“He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
Kristi Guss said the couple has been married 13 years and, like any couple, they’ve had their share of arguments and hard times; but she said there weren’t any problems they couldn’t work through.
“We’ll get through it. We’re praying he gets to come home,” she said. “He needs his family as much as we need him.”
Family friend Dixey Evans said she agrees that Cody Guss is innocent, but she also said the Guss’ relationship has been going downhill the last two years.
Evans, 66, described Cody Guss as an “old country boy” she met when she sold him a wolf. The two have bonded over the years and she considers him a son, who often does odd jobs for her and others.
Evans said Cody Guss is the only provider for his family and he takes care of all the parental duties, including cooking for the children and taking them to school.
Evans said the couple argued constantly and he told her he was going to counseling and had plans to divorce his wife and fight for custody of their children.
She said she can’t believe he’s guilty of allegations against him. “He doesn’t have it inside him to harm them. I do not think Cody is capable of murder. He cannot live with it,” Evans said.
Beatrice Moore said her son-in-law hasn’t been the same since he was in a motorcycle accident a few years ago, which disabled him.
Moore said Cody Guss is mean and vindictive and she wouldn’t put it past him to hire someone to kill her daughter.
“He doesn’t think she’s fit to take care of them three kids,” Moore said. “He keeps her away from people.”
Cody Guss hasn’t had any major run-ins with the law, and Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office officials say they’ve only been called to his home to respond to animal complaints from neighbors.
Eastern New Mexico University Police Officer Charles Perez said Cody Guss is a friend and he was shocked to hear about Guss’ arrest.
Perez, a candidate for county sheriff, said he hasn’t seen Cody Guss in about two years, but he often saw the family in passing and described them as happy.
He shares a love of motorcycles with Cody Guss, Perez said.
“I don’t know what transpired in the last two years … they painted a picture of a close-knit family,” Perez said. “Wow, I’d have never guessed it.”
Here are the details from Cody Guss’ criminal complaint:
• During a meeting with an undercover officer on March 26 in Clovis, Guss provided the officer with a key that opened both the front and back doors of his home.
• Guss gave the officer a hand-drawn map to his residence and explained the closest residence to his was that of his great aunt who lived alone.
• Guss advised the officer that he would leave home around 7:15 a.m. on March 27, to take his three children to school and would not return until 10 or 11 a.m. It was during that time that Guss wanted the murder to happen, for his wife would be home alone.
• Guss planned to go to a friend’s motorcycle shop and wait to hear his wife had been killed so that he could return to the residence. Upon return to his home, Guss would call 911 and report finding his wife’s body.
• Guss showed the officer photos of his wife he had stored on his cell phone.
• In recorded phone calls, Guss negotiated with the officer and agreed to pay $400-$500 in travel expenses and another $5,000 when Guss receives his Social Security disability benefits.
• Guss said in recorded phone calls that he exhausted all of his options in dealing with his wife and that he “does not like what he has to do, but he has no other solution than to kill her,” and that his wife is not “playing with a full deck.”