MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. - The husband of a Michigan mother of two who was videotaped trying to hire a hit man to kill him defended his wife at her sentencing, begging the judge for a lighter penalty because "she is a godly woman."
Jake Merfeld stood in the Muskegon County, Mich., court Tuesday and asked the judge for leniency when it came to sentencing his wife, Julia Merfeld, 21.
"I whole-hardheartedly forgive my wife for all she has done in this act of hatred," Jake Merfeld said. "I know that my wife is a wonderful person. She is a Godly woman."
Julia Merfeld was sentenced by Muskegon County Circuit Court Judge William Marietti to five years and eight months to 20 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder last month.
"I do not believe I'm above punishment," Merfeld said in court. "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," she added
Merfeld was caught on tape in April making a deal with an undercover cop posing as a hit man. Merfeld said she wanted her husband, 27, dead because it would be "easier than divorcing him."
Merfeld asked the undercover officer to make the slaying look like a robbery, giving him a key to her home. But she wanted the killing to take place somewhere else, according to the videotaped meeting.
"So you don't want it done in the house then?" the undercover officer asked.
"'Cause it would be messy in the house," Merfeld explained.
She suggested how the man should kill her husband.
"You want me to shoot him?" the undercover officer asked in the video.
"Unless you can do it painlessly, you know, breaking his neck," Merfeld replied.
She promised to pay the fake hit man $50,000 for the killing.
Merfeld told the undercover officer that killing her husband was her easiest option.
"It's not that we weren't getting along, but, it was easier than, as terrible as it sounds, it was easier than divorcing him," she told the undercover officer.
"You know, I didn't have to worry about the judgment in my family, I didn't have to worry about breaking his heart," she continued.
Police said they believe Merfeld was after her husband's $400,000 life insurance policy, from which she also planned to pay for her husband's killing.