Woman requests to withdraw guilty plea in assassination of husband

Tania Boozer is charged with murder for the shooting death of her husband James Hayward in July 2009 near Oxford Avenue and Benner Street in Crescentville. Credit: Google Maps
Tania Boozer is charged with murder for the shooting death of her husband James Hayward in July 2009 near Oxford Avenue and Benner Street in Crescentville. Credit: Google Maps

Tania Boozer, 39, was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday on third-degree murder charges for having her boyfriend Abdullah Muhammed shoot her husband Jason Hayward to death.

But instead, Boozer requested that Judge Sandy Byrd allow her to withdraw her plea, in part on the grounds that she is diagnosed with PTSD and is in therapy.

“When I pled guilty it was because of fear, because of what happened to my codefendant,” Boozer said at her hearing, referring to Muhammad, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in March.

“I wasn’t thinking … I believe I’m innocent,” she said.

But Hayward’s family members don’t buy her change of heart.

“To me, it’s just another one of her tactics to try to get leniency … She’s a manipulator, she’s very cold-blooded,” said Rose Hayward, Jason’s mother. “We knew this girl since she was 14 years old. My son was a good husband and he was a good father, and she lied all this long time.”

Rose Hayward said that Muhammad was a ride supervisor at Sesame Place amusement park in Langhorne, Pa. and hired Boozer and Hayward to work there. Muhammad fired Hayward as his relationship with Boozer deepened, according to Hayward’s mother.

Hayward was shot multiple times to death on July 14, 2009 near Oxford Avenue and Brenner Street.

Afterward, Boozer collected $100,000 on a life insurance policy she had taken out on him just days before the murder, according to his mother, as well as $4,800 in state victim’s compensation funds, according to prosecutors.

Then, she moved to Virginia with Muhammad.

They were charged with the murder in 2012, after Virginia police investigating Muhammad found a gun under his car seat and linked it to the murder of Hayward, according to Hayward’s mother.

Judge Byrd reserved decision on Boozer’s withdrawal of her guilty plea until a July 11 hearing.


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