Mom Arrested for Plotting to Feed Daughter's Ex to Alligators

By Brett Snider, Esq. on November 06, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A New York mom has been arrested for allegedly plotting to have her daughter's ex killed and fed to alligators.

Melisa Schonfield, 57, was arrested Friday after meeting with an undercover detective who she believed was her murder-for-hire contact. According to ABC News, Schonfield allegedly tried to hire Det. Dave Pustizzi to kill Ernesto Negrillo, the Florida baby daddy of her 2-year-old granddaughter. In addition to allegedly wanting Negrillo killed, Schonfield thought it best that her contract killer dispose of Negrillo's body by feeding it to alligators.

What kind of charges are pending for this alleged alligator murder-for-hire mom?

Conspiracy and Criminal Solicitation

Hiring a hit man typically goes one of two ways: either the person you put a hit on is killed, or you're arrested because the hit man was an undercover cop. Luckily for Negrillo, Schonfield discussed her plans with a cop and not with a real killer, which is why she's been charged with both second degree criminal solicitation and conspiracy in the second degree.

Criminal solicitation generally refers to the act of encouraging or inducing someone to commit a criminal act (often prostitution). In New York, second degree criminal solicitation to have someone killed (a Class A felony) is a Class B felony, which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Lest we forget the allegations that she was essentially conspiring to have her daughter's ex murdered, she's also been charged with conspiracy in the second degree. Second-degree conspiracy in New York involves agreeing with at least one other person to commit a Class A felony (like murder), and this offense is also a Class B felony. If Schonfield is convicted for both offenses, she may be facing up to 50 years in prison.

But What About the Gators?

Although the juiciest part of this story seems to be the detail about feeding Negrillo to the gators, that's actually the least illegal part of the whole alleged scheme. Sure feeding alligators in Florida is a misdemeanor, but that doesn't exactly stack up to the massive felony charges this New York mom is facing.

Schonfield's daughter Alexis seems to be in denial of the whole thing, telling ABC News that her mom is has not admitted to doing anything wrong and is "not a monster." She did, however, admit that Negrillo was verbally abusive during their relationship.

As Alexis put it, "This only happens on a Lifetime movie." Amen sister.

Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Facebook and Twitter (@FindLawConsumer).

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard