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Middletown woman pleads guilty to hiring hitman to kill estranged husband

Posted at 1:11 PM, Jan 19, 2017

HAMILTON, Ohio -- In court Thursday afternoon, 42-year-old Shelly Carter, of Middletown, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated murder for her quest to have her estranged husband killed.

The charge bears a maximum prison sentence of eight years or fine of $15,000. The judge scheduled Carter for sentencing at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 23.

The plot was stopped before it could happen in September 2016. Christian Carter, Shelly’s husband, said he never expected anything like this to happen to him.

“I wanted to thank the man who saved my son’s lives and mine,” Christian said.

Carter -- the owner of Dog Dayz Grooming Studio in Vannest Avenue in Middletown -- was in jail alongside her three accused co-conspirators, according to Middletown police Chief Rodney Muterspaw.

A statement from the police department called it a “murder-for-hire” case: Detectives said that Carter paid someone $500 to kill her estranged husband, Christian Carter. She promised to pay another $500 and a car when the job was finished, police said.

Amy Wray, spokesperson for the Carter family, said Shelly may have wanted her husband killed so she could keep their house once their divorce was final.

"This was her dream house that she'd been dreaming about for over 10-years, and she finally got it built and they were going through a divorce and it ended up that they weren't going to be able to keep it… and she went to whatever dire needs that she thought she needed to so that she could keep the house," Wray said.

The person who led police to the accused conspirators was the same person Carter had promised to pay, according to police; the would-be assassin had become worried about the safety of Carter’s children, ages 7 and 11.