Wife Hires Hit Man, Says It's 'Easier' Than Divorce

By Betty Wang, JD on July 09, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A Michigan wife allegedly tried to hire a hit man to murder her husband. Why not just get a divorce? Because, as Julia Merfeld told the supposed hit man, killing her husband would be easier.

"As terrible as it sounds, it was easier than divorcing him," Merfeld, 21, of Muskegon, told the purported hit man, who was really an undercover cop. "I didn't have to worry about the judgment of my family, I didn't have to worry about breaking his heart."

Unfortunately for Merfeld, her alleged murder-for-hire plot was caught on tape.

Fatal Flaw

Merfeld offered $50,000 from her 27-year-old husband Jacob's $400,000 life insurance policy to a supposed hit man to kill her husband.

Merfeld even went so far as to suggest specific ways to carry out the killing (such as during a robbery) and to request that the killing occur outside (to avoid a mess inside the house), The Huffington Post reports.

But the fatal flaw in Merfeld's plot came when she discussed her plans at work. A coworker initially thought Merfeld was joking, but called the cops when she continued to bring up the subject in greater detail.

Police set up an undercover sting and arrested Merfelt, who in June pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder. You can watch part of the undercover video, obtained by MLive, here:

What Is Solicitation?

Solicitation is a crime that is usually paired with another. Criminal solicitation itself is the act of asking, encouraging, or demanding that someone engage in a crime. So for a person to be convicted of solicitaion, the underlying crime that she asked the other person to commit doesn't actually have to be committed. Just the asking part alone can make one guilty.

The elements of solicitation vary by state, but they generally include:

  • A request that someone else engage in criminal conduct, and
  • Intent to engage in criminal conduct with that person.

Some states also require the solicited party to receive the request, or for an actual step toward the preparation of the crime to be taken.

Michigan's solicitation law in Michigan defines "solicit" as an offer to give, a promise to give, or to give anything else of value in exchange for the criminal act. In this case, Merfeld did exactly that.

Julia Merfeld is set to be sentenced later this month. She could face a minimum of six years in prison, HuffPo reports.

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