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Woman caught on video hiring hitman to kill husband

A Michigan woman was caught on video hiring a hitman to kill her husband in lieu of going through a divorce, videos distributed Monday by police revealed.

The Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office released videos to Michigan news website Mlive.com of Julia Merfield's two meetings with an undercover police officer.

Timothy Maat, Muskegon chief assistant prosecutor, said the videos -- which were filmed on April 9 and 10 -- show Merfield, 21, in a meeting with a person she thinks is a hitman she has hired to shoot her husband.

In reality, Merfield was meeting with an undercover police officer, who upon meeting her in a parked car says, "I guess we have a little business to discuss."

Merfield casually mentioned she wanted her husband to be killed outside of their home because she'd like a friend to move in with her after he's dead and, added, through laughter that "it would be messy in the house."

During the first meeting, Merfield pulled up her phone calendar to schedule the date for the man she believes is a hitman to kill her husband.

When Merfield met with the officer the next day, she explained the layout of her home so that he could stage a break-in and make it "as non-suspicious as possible," she said.

Merfield also provided the undercover officer with an explanation for why she wanted her husband dead.

"It was easier than divorcing him," she said. "You know, I didn't have to worry about the judgment of my family. I didn't have to worry about breaking his heart."

According to Maat, Merfield was also after her husband's $400,000 life insurance policy — $50,000 of which she would use to pay for his murder. He said the couple has two children together.

Merfield originally tried to hire a coworker, Carlos Ramos, to do the deed, said Maat. Ramos thought she was kidding, but once he realized she was not, he told her he couldn't do it but knew someone who would and called the Muskegon Sheriff's Department. Officials then set up the undercover operation.

"We're eternally grateful that he contacted us and not someone who would actually go through with it," said Maat.

Before getting out of the car on April 10, Merfield wished the man she thought she hired "good luck." Maat said she was arrested shortly after.

Merfield is currently being held at Muskegon County Jail without bond, and on July 30 will face sentencing, said Maat. Merfield's husband has asked for her not to receive jail time because "he said that he's forgiven her and that he loves her," Maat said.

However, Maat added that Merfield's husband has not yet seen the videos and may change his mind when he does.