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  SAN DIEGO (AP) - A San Diego judge has ordered the frontman of the Grammy-winning Christian metal band As I Lay Dying to stand trial on charges he tried to hire someone to kill his estranged wife.

   San Diego Superior Court Judge Robert Kearney handed down his decision Monday in the case against Timothy Lambesis after several hours of testimony by witnesses for the prosecution, including an undercover officer who posed as a hitman.

   Howard Bradley testified that Lambesis met him believing he was a hitman and told him he wanted his wife, Meggan Lambesis, dead. Bradley says Lambesis gave him his wife's name, photo and address, along with $1,000 cash.

   Lambesis has pleaded not guilty to solicitation for murder. He'll be arraigned on Oct. 22, when the date for his trial will be set.

Published in National News

Julia Merfeld, a 21-year-old Michigan woman, is set to be sentenced on July 30 after pleading guilty in June to soliciting the murder of her husband, Jacob.

Recorded footage of Julia Merfeld soliciting an undercover cop posing as a hit man has surfaced on the Internet and has shocked viewers for how calm, cool and collected she is while planning the murder.

“When I first decided to do this … it’s not that we weren’t getting along,” she says on the video. “But … terrible as it sounds, it was easier than divorcing him.

"You know, I didn’t have to worry about the judgment of my family, I didn’t have to worry about breaking his heart, all that stuff like this. It’s, like, how I [could have] a clean getaway.”

Furthermore, Merfeld told the fake hit man he’d be paid $50,000 out of the 27-year-old husband’s $400,000 life insurance policy that she would receive in the case of his death. She said she would pay him in a series of weekly $9,000 installments to avoid suspicion from her bank.





Suspicions of Merfeld's intention to carry out the plans were first raised after she told coworker Carlos Ramos she wanted her husband killed. Ramos originally thought she was joking and hoped the topic would never come up again, he told local ABC affiliate WZZM 13. But when she continued to talk about the plan in more detail, Ramos made the decision to go to the police, who set up the sting with the fake hit man.

Merfeld and the undercover Michigan State Police detective met two times – first to discuss the murder plot and once more so that she could show him directions to her house, a map of the outside, a floor plan and a photograph of her husband.

While Merfeld will reportedly be sentenced to a minimum of six years, her husband and intended victim asked that she get no jail time at all, the sentencing judge said in court at the time of her guilty plea.

Instead, Chief Muskegon County Circuit Judge William C. Marietti set her minimum sentence at six years. The maximum can be anything up to life in prison, depending on Marietti’s decision at Merfeld's sentencing July 30.

Published in National News

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