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Woman sentenced for trying to have husband killed

AP Wire • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:58 PM

Julia Charlene Merfeld was ordered Tuesday by Judge William Marietti to spend up to 20 years in prison. She will spend at least five years, eight months behind bars.

On a hidden camera video made in April by investigators, Merfeld is heard telling a Michigan State Police detective posing as a hit man that killing 27-year-old Jacob Merfeld would be "easier than divorcing him."

Merfeld pleaded guilty last month to solicitation of murder. She had promised to pay the fake hit man $50,000 for the killing.

On Tuesday, she sought a lighter sentence.

"I do not believe I'm above punishment," she told Marietti. "My tears are for remorse. Fortunately, the two people who matter the most have already forgiven me ... my husband ... and God. Honestly, they're the only two people who matter."

Jacob Merfeld didn't want the couple's two children, ages 2 and 4, to be deprived of their mother and also sought leniency for his wife.

"I know that my wife is a wonderful person. She is a godly woman," he told Marietti.

But Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson argued Tuesday for prison time.

"Certainly we have to look at the actions that got us here today ... how cold she was when talking to the undercover officer, as if she was ordering groceries or ordering something off the menu," Hilson said. "I wonder how remorseful she would be if the (murder) had been carried out, if she had gotten the $400,000."

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