It was a sweetheart deal for James Pepe.
In 2012, the Bloomingdale High School teacher hired a hit man to kill a rival teacher.
Monday, he pleaded guilty to solicitation for murder and in exchange gets to skip prison.
Hillsborough assistant state prosecutor Joel Elsea says Pepe was convinced another teacher was out to ruin his life -- claims they say were unfounded.
Pepe's attorney David Addelman says his client was having a mental breakdown.
"He became very, very paranoid. He believed things were true that clearly were not true," said Addelman.
Pepe reached out to someone he thought could do the job. That person called police and told them of the murder-for-hire plot.
In secretly recorded calls, you hear Pepe sealing the deal.
"What he wanted to do is have Mr. Meredith killed. He offered suggestions on who could help have Mr. Meredith killed and different ways in fact Mr. Meredith could be killed, " said Elsea.
Damning evidence that Pepe himself can't even stomach, according to his attorney.
"I have tried to play the tapes for him. He doesn't even want to hear it. He's embarrassed," said Addelman.
Embarrassed but relieved to walk away from this deal with just 14 years of probation.
Pepe will also do a year of community control that includes a treatment program.
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