NJ Native Pleads Guilty To Murder-For-Hire Plot - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

NJ Native Pleads Guilty To Murder-For-Hire Plot

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What sounded like a joke turned out to be a disturbing truth: Julia Merfeld wanted Carlos Ramos, a former co-worker, to kill her husband. Now, the 21-year-old New Jersey native has pleaded guilty to the crime.

"I don't want it to look like… I don't want it to look like an actual, um, motive, like a murder case," she says in a videotaped recording released by authorities.

Merfeld plotted to have her husband killed, prosecutors said. She met with someone who she thought was is a hit man on April 10.

What she didn't know was that the hit man was actually an undercover officer.

"What I'm gonna need from you is your address and how to get there," the hit man says in the video.

"Right," Merfield answered.

"And I'm gonna need a picture of him so I make sure I get the right guy," the hit man said, to which Merfeld giggled.

They discussed where her husband would be before the killing, either in the house or outdoors.

"I could always have him clean out my car. My van's a mess," Merfeld said, chuckling.

"How do you want me to do it?" the officer asked.

"Whatever's easiest for you," she answered. "If you can get him outside, that would be great. But, I mean, if you absolutely can't, I'll understand, you know."

"So you want me to -- I guess I don't understand you. So, you don't want it done in the house then?" the officer asked.

"'Cause it would be messy in the house," Merfeld said, laughing.

She said she wants to cash in her husband's life insurance, $400,000 worth, a plot she first shared with her co-worker, Ramos.

"She just, you know, asked me what I would do for $50,000, what I would do? And I said, 'I don't know.' And when she brought it up about what she wanted done, she was laughing, so I figured she was just joking," Ramos said.

But he said she insisted.

"I went along with it, but I wasn't going to do it. I had no intention of doing it," said Ramos.

He hoped that by putting it off, she'd drop it.

"The more she got into detail about what she wanted done, when she wanted it done, then I went to the authorities and said, you know, 'This is what's going on,'" he said.

So, then the sting began, and he gave her a call to follow up. During the call, Ramos backed out, saying he was thinking of his daughter. But he said he knew another guy willing to do it, setting her up with the undercover officer.

Merfeld asked on the video, "The thing I was worried about with Carlos is, like, there's really no way it can get traced back to either one of us, right?"

"No, I mean, I don't know how much Carlos told you. I know Carlos, I trust him, and he's gonna be... you know, I'll take care of Carlos," the officer said.

"Oh, I trust Carlos," Merfeld said,

Asked what goes through his mind after seeing the video, Ramos said, "Disbelief."

"Like I said, she's good with her kids. She was fun to hang out with. Never once before we had our initial conversation did she ever bring anything up like that that would lead me to believe that she wasn't happy being married," Ramos said.

Merfeld said in the video, "When I first decided to do this, like, it's not that we weren't getting along. But, I mean, I was just, it was easier than -- as 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."

During the second meeting with the officer, she made a down payment for the job.

"Did you bring the money?" asked the officer.

She then gave the officer $100.

"JC, once I leave here today, it's on, OK? So, there's no calling it off. Once I leave from here, I'm planning on doing it, you're gonna pay up, got it?" asked the officer.

Once, and only once, she asked for advice about the decision.

"Is this a bad idea for me?" she asked.

"Hey, I'm willing to do it, you know? For whatever your reasons are, I don't really care. You know, I just want the money," the officer told her.

Merfeld's husband told the court that he didn't want his wife to serve any time for the crime.

While solicitation for murder could get her up to life in prison, the judge agreed to cap her sentence at six years with the plea agreement.

That sentencing is set for July 30, FOX's Darren Cunningham reported.

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