Woman nabbed for hiring hitman to kill hubby: It's easier than having a divorce

PHOTO: The Straits Times

US - The 21-year-old married mother of two did not want to break her husband's heart by divorcing him. So Julia Merfeld (above) decided to hire a hitman. Fortunately he turned out to be a undercover policeman who secretly videotaped their two meetings.

She was caught for the April incident and was found guilty last month. She will be sentenced on July 30.

On the video, the Michigan resident is heard telling the undercover officer in his car that the killing would be "easier than divorcing him".

Merfeld said that she and her husband had been fighting, and that she had been thinking about having him killed because if he was dead, she wouldn't have to worry about her family's judgment or "breaking his heart".

During the encounter in April, Merfeld allegedly tried to hire the "hitman" for US$50,000 (S$63,800) to kill her 27-year-old husband, reported CBS Detroit.

She then discussed the alleged murder plan.

She said with a laugh: "If you can get him outside, that would be great... It would be messy in the house."

Merfeld was also insistent that it couldn't just look like a robbery gone awry, reported AP.

She even suggested to the would-be assassin that the best method would be to break her husband's neck, but the undercover detective said he would prefer to use either a gun or a knife.

She said: "I have a girlfriend who wants to move in with me, and I don't want her to be scared to move in with me if she thinks that we've got broken into... I don't want to live there by myself afterwards."

The detective told her that things couldn't be called off once she left his car, and that she could pay him a few weeks after the murder.

'Non-suspicious'

"Surprise me with how you do it because, I mean, the more shocked I am when it happens, the better it will be," said Merfeld. "I just want to make it as non-suspicious as possible."

She then asked the "killer": "What happens if you get caught?"

The man assured her that he will "take the hit" and keep her name out of the investigation so long as she pays him or his associates "on the outside" the agreed sum.

Merfeld was arrested after leaving the vehicle, reported CBS Detroit.

Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler reportedly said her apparent motive "was one of the oldest motives known to man: Greed. She wanted a life insurance payout".

Police added her husband has a US$400,000 life insurance policy.

After the murder plot was uncovered, her husband appealed to the judge to spare his wife from being jailed.

Instead, the judge decided to cap the defendant's minimum sentence to six years. Merfeld could face up to life in prison.