Ore. Woman Indicted In Arson, Murder Plot


An Oregon woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle on charges of arson and solicitation to commit murder.

Michele Gates, 26, admitted killing two small children more than a decade ago in Oregon. She now is accused of plotting the revenge killing of Lisa Mackie of Vancouver, Wash.

The alleged hired killer revealed the plot in February, shortly before it was to be carried out. Gates was arrested Feb. 20 at home in Portland.

Gates also is accused of arson in a fire last year at Mackie's home, Lis Wiehl, an assistant U.S. attorney in Seattle, said yesterday.

Gates is to be arraigned Thursday in federal court in Seattle, Wiehl said. She remains in federal custody.

According to an FBI agent's affidavit, Mackie is the former wife of Gates' boyfriend, Joe Shorthouse.

Gates blamed Mackie for revealing Gates' past, causing her to lose jobs, according to the affidavit. The FBI also said Gates intended to marry Shorthouse and adopt his 5-year-old son once Mackie was dead.

Gates was convicted of the juvenile equivalent of murder in Oregon in 1985 for the 1980 drowning death of a 4-year-old neighbor girl. She was 13 when the girl was killed, and also admitted killing her 3-year-old cousin by pushing the child into a pond.

She avoided prison because state law at the time she was convicted forbade incarcerating female juvenile offenders past the age of 18.