'Pure Evil:' Why Lawrence T. Horn Hired An Assassin On Hit Man

By Diana Brown

September 10, 2019

Hand holding gun, close-up, b&w

Hit Man, a true crime podcast hosted by Jasmine Morris, is dedicated to a heartbreaking case of triple murder: Millie Horn, a loving mother, her severely disabled eight-year-old son Trevor, and Trevor’s nurse Janice Saunders, who were all killed in Millie’s home one evening in 1993. “It took 18 months for detectives to complete their investigation...But it only took one day for police to establish a prime suspect and a motive,” Jasmine tells us. Even though he was in a different state at the time of the murders, with a solid alibi, the authorities immediately took an interest in Millie’s estranged husband, Motown producer Lawrence T. Horn. In this episode, Jasmine takes an unflinching look at Lawrence’s motives, as well as the book that taught a street preacher how to become an assassin.

Trevor was born with underdeveloped lungs, but his health had been steadily improving beyond all his doctors’ expectations, until he was taken to Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC for a routine treatment. Due to some accident, Trevor was without oxygen for several minutes, leaving him severely brain damaged. His mother was advised to take him off life support, but as Millie’s sister Marilyn tells us, “Millie went into his room. And Trevor opened his eyes, looked at her, and smiled, and that was the answer.” She refused to put him a care facility, either; she decided he would be raised at home, and that she would give him the most normal life she could manage. “They had a pool party, he's in the pool,” Marilyn remembers. “Halloween, he had his costume.” Lawrence, on the other hand, never showed any interest in Trevor. 

Until three years later, when Millie decided to pursue a lawsuit against Children’s Hospital in order to get the money she’d need to take care of her son. Her lawyers, John Marshall and Howard Siegel, remember Lawrence being much greedier. He rejected the first offer, saying it wasn’t enough, that he expected to get at least $100,000 just for himself. “It was the first time he had revealed himself, and we were floored. It had just never been discussed that the parents were going to get any money at all,” John says, and Howard agrees: "I went out in the hall with John and I said, 'I have just looked into the eyes of pure evil.'...Lawrence Horn's only concern was what he was going to get out of it."

Trevor was awarded $2 million in 1990, with $125,000 going to Lawrence and Millie receiving $525,000, which she used to buy a bigger house with “an entire wing dedicated to Trevor’s care,” Jasmine says. While Lawrence was still employed by Motown, Trevor’s medical bills were covered by his health insurance, and most of the money went into a trust fund. “But then Lawrence lost his job, and by 1993 Trevor had exhausted the lifetime maximum benefits on Millie's insurance. Which meant that every month now, $26,000, the cost of Trevor's care, was going to come out of Trevor's $1.7 million trust fund.” 

That’s when Lawrence set his plan in motion. “There is no accident about this timing," John says. "This was all done to maximize the return to Lawrence.” Millie was very nervous, John remembers, after the court allowed her to start dipping into the trust fund; Marilyn recounts that Millie told her that if anything ever happened to her, it was Lawrence’s doing. “And of course she was 100% right,” John says. “A month later, she was killed.” 

Doorway leading into bedroom

Lawrence hired James Perry, a street preacher with a criminal record, to kill his wife and son so he could inherit all the money. James had shot someone before, but in order to do it right, Lawrence had him order the book Hit Man: A Technical Manual For Independent Contractors from Paladin Press, which detailed exactly how to assassinate someone and not get caught. “The similarities between Rex Feral's manual and the murders of Millie Horn, her son Trevor, and Janice Saunders, are difficult to ignore,” Jasmine says, from the weapon used and the homemade silencer employed, to the murder method and disposing of evidence. James followed the manual nearly to the letter, and they almost got away with it. A few chance mistakes were all it took to expose Lawrence for who he truly was.

Find out more about the 22-second answering machine recording Lawrence didn’t intend to make, the chilling, step-by-step assassination instructions, and the cold-blooded ways Lawrence helped his employee prepare for murder, on this episode of Hit Man

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