AIRPORT COURTHOUSE — A former Food Network star was sentenced to nine years in prison Monday for trying to hire two Santa Monica homeless men to kill his wife, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Juan Carlos Cruz, 48, who hosted “Calorie Commando” and “Weighing In,” pleaded no contest Oct. 26 as a hearing was set to begin to determine if there was enough evidence to require him to stand trial.

As a result of his plea, an attempted murder charge was dismissed by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge H. Chester Horn Jr.

Cruz has remained jailed on $2 million bail since his arrest May 13 by Santa Monica police, who said earlier they were contacted by two men who said Cruz had hired them to kill someone in exchange for $500. Police set up a sting and videotaped Cruz arranging the murder with the men, including driving one to his apartment and showing him how to access the secure building, authorities said.

TMZ.com reported Cruz’ wife was suicidal because she could not have children but could not kill herself because of her religious beliefs. Authorities believe Cruz was attempting to execute a murder-suicide out of mercy.

kevinh@www.smdp.com

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