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Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen, left, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates testified Tuesday on Capitol Hill at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the new START treaty. Photo by The Associated Press

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A former psychologist serving a life sentence for conspiring with her Army lover to kill her Air Force pilot husband is in a prison isolation cell while officials investigate whether she was plotting an escape.

Michelle Theer has been held in isolation at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh since last month, when officials say she tried to mail a map of the prison and other documents to someone, The Fayetteville Observer reported Tuesday.

Theer, 41, was initially placed in administrative segregation, prison warden Annie Harvey said. Her status was changed to disciplinary segregation when prison officials determined enough evidence existed to investigate her case further. Theer has pleaded not guilty, Harvey said.

If Theer is found to have been plotting an escape, she would likely be held in maximum-security confinement, Harvey said.

Harvey declined to provide details about what Theer may have been trying to mail. Prison officials regularly screen mail that appears suspicious, Harvey said.

"We take anything that could cause someone to escape very seriously," Harvey said. "The best defense is to take everything seriously on the front end."

Theer has been imprisoned since 2004, after she and former Army Staff Sgt. John Diamond were convicted of gunning down Theer's husband, Capt. Marty Theer, a C-130 pilot at Pope Air Force Base.

Prosecutors said Theer lured her husband to her office in December 2000 so Diamond, a Special Forces soldier at Fort Bragg who was her lover, could ambush him. Diamond was sentenced to life in prison in a military trial in 2001.

After the killing, Michelle Theer continued her affair with Diamond and later moved to New Orleans and then Florida, where she had plastic surgery under an assumed name. She was arrested in Florida in August 2002.

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