MUSKEGON (WWJ/AP) - A west Michigan woman wanted to end her marriage in what she thought would be a quick and painless manner -- by hiring a hit man -- but the wannabe widow had an unexpected glitch in her plans.
Back in April, 21-year-old Julia Merfeld, of Muskegon, tried to hire a hit man for $50,000 to take out her 27-year-old husband. What she didn't know is that the hit man for hire was actually an undercover detective.
Video footage from a hidden camera, which was obtained by the Muskegon Chronicle, shows Merfeld telling the detective that killing her husband would be "easier than divorcing" him.
"When I first decided to do this, it's not that we weren't getting along. I mean, I was just, it was easier than, as terrible as it sounds, it was easier than divorcing him. You know, I didn't have to worry about the judgment of my family, I didn't have to worry about breaking his heart, all that stuff like this. It's, like, how I got a clean getaway," she said.
Merfeld then discusses her murder plan with the undercover detective in a matter-of-fact manner, saying it would be best for him to shoot her husband.
"If you can get him outside, that would be great... It would be messy in the house," she said with a laugh.
Merfeld was also insistent that it couldn't just look like a robbery gone awry.
"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... so I'm kind of afraid of that because I want her to move in with me because I don't want to live there by myself afterwards," she said.
The detective tells Merfeld that things can't be called off once she leaves his car, and that she can pay him a few weeks after the murder.
"Surprise me with how you do it because, I mean, the more shocked I am when it happens, the better it will be," she said. "I just want to make it as non-suspicious as possible."
Merfeld was arrested after exiting the vehicle.
Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler said Merfeld's apparent motive "is one of the oldest motives known to man: Greed. She wanted a life insurance payout." Her husband has a $400,000 life insurance policy.
Merfeld pleaded guilty last month to solicitation to commit murder. She's jailed ahead of a July 30 sentencing date and is expected to face prison time.
Investigators say they were tipped off about the whole situation by one of Merfeld's co-workers whom she initially approached to get the job done.
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