MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) - A West Michigan woman who pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder was videotaped telling an undercover police detective that she wanted her husband's death to be "as non-suspicious as possible."
Authorities say Julia Charlene Merfeld, 21, of Muskegon wanted her 27-year-old husband's $400,000 life insurance policy.
24 Hour News 8 obtained two videos recorded in April from the Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office. In the videos, Merfeld is nonchalant as she discusses the details of her husband's murder with a detective posing as a hit man. The tone of her voice was as if she was planning a vacation.
She and the undercover detective discussed a $50,000 payment that would have come from her husband's life insurance and a $100 down payment.
She told the so-called hit man that the murder "has to be on a Thursday," the day that she worked.
"I was looking at my calendar and I was thinking either the 18th of April or the 25th," she said.
Merfeld said she didn't want her husband to suffer but that "whatever's easiest" was acceptable. She said she didn't want to know exactly when or how the murder would happen and that "it would better if you surprised me."
"The more shocked I am when it happens, the better," she said. "I just want to make it as non-suspicious as possible."
Merfeld said she was "kind of afraid about" staging the murder of her husband as a break-in because she wanted a friend to come live with her after he was dead, and didn't want the friend to be worried about an unsafe neighborhood.
She didn't want the murder to take place in her house if possible because, she said with a laugh, "it would be messy."
In a second meeting, she provided the officer with a plan of the house, a picture of her husband, a list of items for the so-called hit man to steal in the staged robbery, and a down payment. She showed him the layout of the home and where to park.
She said she and her husband had been fighting and that she had been thinking about having him killed for a while:
"As terrible as it sounds, it was easier then divorcing him. You know, I don't have to worry about the judgment of my family. I don't have to worry about breaking his heart."
She again reiterated that she did not want her husband to suffer.
"Just make it painless," she said.
"I'm going to shoot him in the face," the detective told her.
"OK," she responded.
At one point, she did say the conversation was "making me sad."
Merfeld was arrested shortly after the second meeting.
She has already pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder in a deal that could send her to prison for a minimum of six years. Sentencing is set for July 30.
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