US man fakes death after finding out wife hired hitman to kill him

Forensic investigator working at a crime scene
Photo credit: Getty

Divorces can be messy, no doubt about it.

But most separations involve squabbles over money, assets and who looks after the kids - they don't involve hitmen and fake deaths.

But in a dark tale of love gone sour, that was exactly how the marriage of Ramon and Maria "Lulu" Sosa ended.

Ramon, a former boxing coach in Houston, got wind of his wife's plans to kill him only by sheer coincidence. 

Gustavo, a boxer who Ramon had previously trained, called his old coach saying Maria had hired him to organise a hitman to kill Ramon.

"Those moments when I first heard that Lulu wanted to have me killed were surreal," Roman told The Sun, adding that his former wife had no idea that he knew Gustavo.

"The words kind of hung in the air for a split second and when I began to process the message, the words fell into my brain one by one."

He said the couple's relationship started to deteriorate after a gym they had opened together in Houston started having financial problems.

Maria then said she wanted a divorce, but the two were forced to remain living together due to a lack of funds.

It was then that Ramon heard about his wife's plans.

"And then it hit me that I still had to live under the same roof with the person planning to have me murdered," he said.

"Yes, I slept with the enemy and with one eye open, all while trying to act as normal as possible so Lulu would continue with her plan. Keep in mind, that was the only way we could catch her in the act."

Eventually, Ramon and Gustavo approached police in Houston and set about collecting evidence to incriminate Maria.

First Gustavo hid a microphone on his body and recorded a conversation with Maria talking about the planned crime.

But the next step was even stranger - and more gruesome.

According to The Sun, Ramon - working with police in Texas and the FBI - staged a photo of his "dead" body, complete with painted-on makeup showing what appeared to be a gunshot wound through the temple.

"That picture, to this day, reflects one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. The thought of me lying in a shallow grave in my underwear with a bullet hole through my temple is mind-boggling."

Maria was then shown a photo of the "hit" by an undercover FBI agent posing as the hitman, Ramon said.

"Lulu [was] laughing when the undercover officer showed her the picture. She had the nerve to ask him if I was really dead or if I was going to get up."

Maria later pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder and was jailed for 20 years.

With 20/20 vision, Ramon told The Sun he felt "lucky to be alive" after everything that had happened.