A former TV chef has been sentenced to nine years in state prison after he pleaded no contest to soliciting two homeless men in Santa Monica to kill his wife, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Juan-Carlos Cruz, 48, of Los Angeles, the former host of “Calorie Commando” and “Weighing In” on the Food Network, entered his plea on Oct. 26 just as his preliminary hearing was set to begin. Cruz was sentenced by Superior Court Judge H. Chester Horn Dec. 13.
As a result of his plea, one count of attempted murder was dropped at sentencing, district attorney spokeswoman Shiara Davila said.
Santa Monica police arrested Cruz in May following an investigation into allegations that he approached two homeless men and offered them $500 to kill his wife, attorney Jennifer Campbell. One of the men had informed officers with the Santa Monica Police Department’s Homeless Liaison Program.
Police set up a sting operation and videotaped Cruz allegedly arranging the murder with the men, including driving one to his apartment and showing him how to access the secure building, Davila said.
Prior to hosting shows on the Food Network, Cruz worked as a pastry sous-chef at the Hotel Bel Air where he created pastries for a number of celebrities.