Three people who pleaded guilty to a murder-for-hire plot that was hatched from a contentious divorce were sentenced to prison Thursday.
Butler County Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth called the case “depraved, disturbing and despicable” before sentencing the three, who stood together in the middle of the courtroom.
Spaeth first sentenced Shelly Carter, 42, of Madison Twp. to the maximum sentence of eight years in prison for trying to hire a hit man to killer her ex-husband, Tony.
MORE DETAILS: Nasty divorce led woman to arrange murder-for-hire plot
Casey Fryman, 32, Shelly Carter’s half brother, and his wife Sara Fryman, 21, both of Riverview Drive in Middletown, were both sentenced to six years in prison. All three pleaded guilty to attempted conspiracy to commit aggravated murder.
Carter asked the Frymans to find someone the kill her husband and Sarah Fryman went to the hit man’s house to set up the deed.
Instead, the man told Middletown police about the plot.
MORE: Man pleads guilty in Middletown conspiracy
Police said Carter was in fear of losing her home and custody of her children when she arranged the hit last September.
The mother of two offered to pay a man $1,000 — $500 up front and $500 after the job was completed — and give him an SUV as payment if he killed her estranged husband by crashing into his car in front of the couple’s home.
The “accident” was timed to coincide for when Tony Carter would be dropping off the couple’s children, and Shelly Carter instructed the hit man to “do it even if the kids were in the car,” police said.
Carter sobbed during much of the hearing and offered an apology before her sentence was handed down.
‘I am aware that I have made a very bad choice and I messed up very big,” Carter told the judge, added her children’s lives were fractured. “Have mercy on my life today.”
Defense attorney Tamara Sack said Carter “snapped” under the stress of a difficult relationship. Carter’s sister told the judge Shelly changed in the months leading up to the crime, displaying signs of depression.
Casey Fryman also offered a short apology before sentencing, and his attorney David Washington said his involvement in the crime was much less. Fryman was in the car when the trio drive to the bank for money, Washington said.
Sara Fryman’s attorney, David Brewer, said his client “was a naive heroin addict,” who was trying to get money for her next high. She believed she would get a portion of the cash for the murder set up.
Brewer asked that she be given probation to help her with her addiction.
Tony Carter was at work and could not attend the sentencing. Amy Wray, family spokesperson, said, “The children are actually doing very well. They are in therapy and they are getting the love and support they need.”
She added, “We are just so glad it is over and we can put this behind us.”