MUSKEGON, Mich. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey native pleaded guilty to a murder-for-hire plot in Michigan after authorities said she was caught on camera trying to hire a hit man to kill her husband.
Julia Merfeld, 21, wanted to have her husband killed because she said “it was easier than divorcing him,” according to a report by MLive.com.
But the man she tried to hire was actually an undercover cop who recorded the details of her entire plan, authorities said.
“When I first decided to do this, it’s not that we weren’t getting along,” she explains in the video, which was given to MLive by the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office. “As terrible as it sounds, it was easier than divorcing him. I didn’t have to worry about the judgment of my family, I didn’t have to worry about breaking his heart.”
In the video conversation between Merfeld and the undercover officer, she adds she wanted her husband killed outside of the house because she didn’t want to scare away a potential roommate.
“I have a girlfriend who wants to move with me and I don’t want her to be scared,” she says on the video. “Because it would be messy in the house.”
Authorities said she gave the fake hit man a $100 down payment and then told him that she would pay him $50,000 from her husband’s $400,000 life insurance policy.
“You said something about shooting him in the face?” the cop says on the video, to which the woman replies, “Unless you can do it painlessly, like breaking his neck.”
Merfeld’s co-worker, Carlos Ramos, told MLive that Merfeld originally tried to hire him to kill her husband. That’s when he called police who then set up the undercover operation.
Merfeld, a mother of two who grew up in the New Jersey town of Keyport, was arrested in April. She pleaded guilty to solicitation to murder on June 27. Her husband, however, asked that she get no jail time, MLive reported.
CBS 2’s Christine Sloan spoke to Merfeld’s brother, Nick Antonaccio, on Tuesday. He said he couldn’t believe what he was watching on the video.
“It’s hard knowing your sister did this,” Antonaccio said.
He said his sister’s husband, Jacob, is with the Coast Guard and is a good man.
“It was pretty upsetting. She laughed about it. It’s not right,” Antonaccio said.
Merfeld faces a minimum of six years behind bars when she is sentenced later this month.
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