Juan-Carlos Cruz Sentenced to Prison

12/13/2010 3:06 PM PST

Juan-Carlos Cruz Sentenced to Jail

Former Food Network chef Juan-Carlos Cruz was just sentenced to nine years in prison ... this after he pled no contest back in October for attempting to solicit men to murder his wife.

Cruz tried to pay three homeless men back in May to kill his wife. The men went to the police instead and Cruz was arrested.

As part of the plea agreement, an attempted murder charge was dropped.

As we first reported ... Cruz's wife, Jennifer Campbell, was suicidal over not being able to have a baby. But suicide is a mortal sin in Campbell's religion, so authorities believe Cruz was attempting to execute a murder/suicide out of mercy.