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Investigation into hit man request included video


Julia Charlene Merfeld

Photo: fox17online.com

July 8, 2013 | AP   An investigation into a 20-year-old West Michigan woman who later pleaded guilty to soliciting the murder of her 27-year-old husband included videotaped meetings with an undercover police detective.
 
     On the video, Julia Charlene Merfeld of Muskegon is heard telling the detective posing as a hit man that the killing would be "easier than divorcing him." Merfeld said that if he was killed she wouldn't have to worry about her family's judgment or "breaking his heart."
 
     Two videos made in April were released to The Muskegon Chronicle (http://bit.ly/16ZIVIP ) by prosecutors.
 
     Merfeld pleaded guilty last month to soliciting a murder. She's jailed ahead of sentencing July 30 and is expected to face prison time.
 
     Authorities say she wanted her husband's $400,000 life insurance policy, and promised to pay $50,000 for the killing.
  



More WGVU News
Friday
Hop candy delivers flavor without the hangover
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  December 19, 2014  |  WGVU  Today is National Hard Candy Day. The ingredients for making hard candy is basic; syrup, citric acid, food coloring and flavoring. And for kids young and old it’s the flavor that matters. WGVU discovered a one-of-a-kind candy taste earlier this year at the American Homebrewers Association Conference held at Grand Rapids’ DeVos Place.   
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US Senate race in Michigan drew $56M in spending
LANSING, Mich.  December 19, 2014  |  AP  The race for U.S. Senate in Michigan drew more than $56 million in spending from the campaigns and outside supporters.   
Snyder signs bills to streamline some courts
LANSING, Mich.   December 19, 2014  |  AP  Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation designed to streamline the district court system in Michigan by creating more flexibility for magistrates.   
Snyder signs bill to expand nuisance abatement
LANSING, Mich.  December 19, 2014  |  AP  Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation to expand local governments' power to file nuisance complaints against homeowners and businesses suspected of illegal activity such human trafficking or gun crimes.   
Michigan Lottery sales reach record $2.6 billion
LANSING, Mich.  December 19, 2014  |  AP  Michigan Lottery ticket sales have reached a record $2.6 billion in the 2014 budget year.   
Tighter Internet sales tax collections are OK'd
LANSING, Mich.   December 19, 2014  |  AP  Amazon.com and other online stores will have to collect Michigan's sales tax on purchases under legislation headed to Gov. Rick Snyder.   
168-year-old Grand Rapids house restored as treatment center
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.   December 19, 2014  |  AP  A 168-year-old Grand Rapids mansion has been renovated for use as a private treatment center for women with alcohol and drug addictions.   
Cyberbullying legislation sent to Gov. Snyder
LANSING, Mich.  December 19, 2014  |  AP  Michigan school districts would have to include cyberbullying in their anti-bullying policies and report bullying data to the state under legislation going to Gov. Rick Snyder.   
Michigan voters to decide road funding tax hike
LANSING, Mich.   December 19, 2014  |  AP  A proposed tax hike aimed at improving Michigan's transportation infrastructure and schools is heading to voters.   
Authorities: Man arrested in 1990 beating death
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  December 19, 2014  |  AP  Authorities say a 56-year-old man has been arrested in the 1990 beating death of a 23-year-old in Grand Rapids.   
11 charter authorizes remain at-risk of suspension
LANSING, Mich.  December 19, 2014  |  AP  The Michigan Department of Education has decided to keep the status of 11 of the state's charter school authorizers at-risk of possible suspension.   
Michigan gets $349,000 in cell 'cramming' deal
LANSING, Mich.  December 19, 2014  |  AP  Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the state will receive $349,000 as part of a $90 million national settlement with cellphone company T-Mobile.   

Thursday
Toyota boosting Michigan research and development
Ann Arbor Township, MI  December 18, 2014  |  WGVU  Toyota Motor Corp. is further boosting its research and development work in southeastern Michigan.    
Michigan road funding talks down to final day
Lansing MI  December 18, 2014  |  WGVU  Talks over raising taxes to repair deteriorating Michigan roads have come down to the last day of voting in the Legislature this year.    
Labor activist faces sentencing in fraud case
Detroit, MI  December 18, 2014  |  WGVU  A Detroit-area labor activist known for repeatedly suing Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit officials to stop the use of emergency managers faces sentencing in a federal fraud case.    
Police: Michigan teen shot near high school
Wyoming MI  December 18, 2014  |  WGVU  Police are searching for whoever shot a Grand Rapids-area high school student in the leg as he left basketball practice.    
Muskegon County meat business completes renovation
MUSKEGON, Mich.  December 18, 2014  |  AP  A 107-year-old Muskegon County meat business that has been in operation through five generations has expanded to meet growing retail demand.   
Michigan to vote on 7 percent sales tax for roads
LANSING, Mich.  December 18, 2014  |  AP  Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders have struck a road funding deal to put a proposed 1 percentage point hike in the 6 percent sales tax to a statewide vote in May.   
Job cuts looming at state agency due to budget reduction
LANSING, Mich.  December 18, 2014  |  AP  One of Michigan's largest state agencies says it will eliminate jobs to deal with a $7.5 million budget cut.   
Snyder reorganizes economic, job training efforts
LANSING, Mich.  December 18, 2014  |  AP  Gov. Rick Snyder is reorganizing the state's economic growth and job training efforts under one department.   
Time running out for medical marijuana bills in state Legislature
  December 18, 2014  |  MPRN  Supporters of legislation to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan say it’s not likely to pass in 2014.   
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Voters would have to approve road funding plan
  December 18, 2014  |  MPRN  Governor Rick Snyder and legislative leaders are trying to convince state lawmakers to adopt a plan to raise one-point-three billion dollars for roads, and then put the question on the ballot in May.   
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Wednesday
Report cites need to fix Michigan's school funding
Lansing MI  December 17, 2014  |  WGVU  A report endorsed by the state Board of Education says Michigan needs to fix its school funding system and spend money more wisely to improve student outcomes.    
Michigan getting $70M for health improvements
Lansing MI  December 17, 2014  |  WGVU  Michigan is getting $70 million in federal funding during the next four years to support health care system enhancements that are designed to benefit families.    
Michigan road funds deal in doubt this session
Lansing MI  December 17, 2014  |  WGVU  Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders are still talking about how to raise taxes to improve Michigan's roads, as chances rise that no deal will be struck before lawmakers adjourn for the year.    
Detroit retirement system holds meetings on cuts
Detroit, MI  December 17, 2014  |  WGVU  Detroit's retirement system is holding community meetings to discuss pension cuts that are coming as a result of the city's bankruptcy.    
Invasive snail threatens Great Lakes waterfowl
  December 17, 2014  |  WGVU  The spread of a new invasive snail along the Lake Michigan shoreline has researchers concerned about its deadly effects on waterfowl.   
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Muskegon Ship Seeking Volunteers For Paint Job
  December 17, 2014  |  WGVU  A World War II landing ship that’s now a museum in Muskegon hopes to get a face lift.    
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African American Churches Hold Special Prayer
Grand Rapids MI  December 17, 2014  |  WGVU   Demonstrations over grand jury decisions have moved from outdoor protests to inside church sanctuaries, as many African American churches held special services on the theme: “Black Lives Matter.”    
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Cab drivers call for local Uber policies
  December 17, 2014  |  WGVU  Grand Rapids taxi drivers want regulations established for city Uber and ride-sharing services.   
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14 charged in meningitis outbreak
  December 17, 2014  |  WGVU  The owners of a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts face federal murder charges for mishandling medical steroids that were distributed nationwide and caused a meningitis outbreak. 64 people died – 23 from Michigan.    
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Bills OK'd to set boating alcohol limit at 0.08
LANSING, Mich.  December 17, 2014  |  AP  Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign bills subjecting boaters and snowmobilers to the same blood-alcohol limit as drivers.   
Bills signed to create parolee work certificate
LANSING, Mich.  December 17, 2014  |  AP  Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation allowing Michigan inmates released on parole to be given a work certificate if they complete a career and technical education course and meet other requirements.   
Report cites need to fix Michigan's school funding
LANSING, Mich.   December 17, 2014  |  AP  A report endorsed by the state Board of Education says Michigan needs to fix its school funding system and spend money more wisely to improve student outcomes.   
Michigan probe continues into meningitis outbreak
LANSING, Mich.  December 17, 2014  |  AP  Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says a state investigation continues after federal indictments of 14 people in connection with a 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people nationwide.   
Top Dem: House should vote on Senate gas tax hike
LANSING, Mich.   December 17, 2014  |  AP  A top Democrat says the Michigan House should vote on a Senate-approved plan that would significantly raise gasoline and diesel taxes to generate at least $1 billion more in road repair funding.   
Doctors: Man in train stabbing suffered delusions
SAGINAW, Mich.  December 17, 2014  |  AP  Documents show that a Michigan man and Army veteran charged with stabbing four people aboard an Amtrak train had delusions at one time and spent time in jail for attacking a girlfriend.   
State's jobless rate off 0.4 points to 6.7 percent
LANSING, Mich.  December 17, 2014  |  AP  Michigan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has dropped 0.4 percentage points to 6.7 percent in the latest month, reaching its lowest level in more than eight years.   
Prospects of road funding compromise begin to look dubious in lame duck
  December 17, 2014  |  MPRN  State lawmakers are entering the final hours of their two-year session without having reached a deal to boost road funding.    
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Tuesday
Man sentenced in Benton Harbor election fraud
Benton Harbor MI  December 16, 2014  |  WGVU  A Michigan man who was found guilty of fraud in a Benton Harbor mayoral recall election has been sentenced to 2 1/2 to 10 years in prison.    
Flood aid in Detroit area totals $246 million
Detroit, MI  December 16, 2014  |  WGVU  Federal assistance for Detroit-area residents who suffered property damage during severe August flooding has totaled $246 million following the application deadline.    
Man sentenced in Benton Harbor election fraud
BENTON HARBOR, Mich.  December 16, 2014  |  WGVU  A Michigan man who was found guilty of fraud in a Benton Harbor mayoral recall election has been sentenced to 2 1/2 to 10 years in prison.   
Retired officer gives autism safety talk across US
Ypsilanti MI  December 16, 2014  |  WGVU  A retired police officer from Michigan is making it his mission to educate first responders and others about how to more effectively interact with those with autism spectrum disorder.    
World War II landing ship getting new paint job
MUSEKGON, Mich.  December 16, 2014  |  WGVU  A World War II landing ship that's now a museum in western Michigan is getting a new paint job.   
Drop in oil prices a result of global market battle
  December 16, 2014  |  WGVU  Gas prices in West Michigan are down more than $1.50 a gallon over the past six months. How long will it last? One analyst says prices will stay under $3 a gallon through 2015? What are the factors behind the price drop?   
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Manufacturing among West Mich. business strengths
  December 16, 2014  |  WGVU  2014 was a record year for West Michigan business, says Tim Mroz of The Right Place.    
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Requests for GRPD body cams continue
  December 16, 2014  |  WGVU  Grand Rapids City Commission chambers were again full Tuesday night, as residents and others spoke to the need for police officer body cameras.    
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Officials to consider plans for Tiger Stadium site
DETROIT   December 16, 2014  |  AP  The Detroit Economic Development Corp. is expected to consider redevelopment plans for the old Tiger Stadium site.   
Snail harmful to ducks spreading in Great Lakes
MUSKEGON, Mich.  December 16, 2014  |  AP  Scientists say an invasive European snail that carries parasites fatal to some aquatic birds is spreading across the Great Lakes region.   
NEA president to speak to Detroit Economic Club
DETROIT   December 16, 2014  |  AP  The president of the nation's largest teachers union plans to speak to a meeting of the Detroit Economic Club.   
AAA forecasts big travel season in Michigan
DEARBORN, Mich.  December 16, 2014  |  AP  AAA says more than 3 million people from Michigan are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season.   
Effort to showcase stories of failure expands
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  December 16, 2014  |  AP  An effort to showcase individual and personal stories of failure that gained momentum in Michigan is planning an international expansion.   
Michigan bills OK'd to loosen air gun regulations
LANSING, Mich.   December 16, 2014  |  AP  Michigan lawmakers have approved legislation to loosen licensing restrictions on air guns and limit local governments' ability to set their own regulations, except when the guns are being used by kids under age 16.   
Semis honk against overweight truck fines as lawmakers talk roads
  December 16, 2014  |  MPRN  Michigan truckers are protesting legislation to increase fines for overweight vehicles.    
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Monday
US attorney: Wayne County probe winding down
Detroit, MI  December 15, 2014  |  WGVU  Federal authorities say they're close to announcing whether new charges will be brought following a yearslong investigation of corruption in Wayne County government.    
Lounge for military travelers hosts holiday salute
Romulus MI  December 15, 2014  |  WGVU   A lounge for military travelers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport his hosting an effort to honor military members and veterans during the holidays.    
Michigan priest faces sentencing in charity theft
Detroit, MI  December 15, 2014  |  WGVU  A Detroit-area Catholic priest who was convicted of stealing money from a charity for the poor faces sentencing.    
Detroit bankruptcy judge seeks update on city's plan
Detroit, MI  December 15, 2014  |  WGVU   A judge is tying up loose ends in Detroit's bankruptcy case, especially fees charges by lawyers, consultants and other professionals.    
AAA Michigan: Gas prices fall 19 cents in week
Dearborn, MI  December 15, 2014  |  WGVU  AAA Michigan says statewide gas prices have dropped about 19 cents a gallon in the last week to the lowest average in more than five years.    
GR police body cam hearing on Tuesday
  December 15, 2014  |  WGVU  The call for police body cameras continues in Grand Rapids.    
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Reports of flu cases rising across Kent County
  December 15, 2014  |  WGVU  The flu season is off to an early start in Kent County. The health department says influenza cases are on the rise.   
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Supporters of Michigan religious freedom bill push back against critics
  December 15, 2014  |  MPRN  Supporters of a religious freedom bill in the state Legislature are pushing back against recent criticism.    
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Slow start for road funding talks in last week of lame duck
  December 15, 2014  |  MPRN  It appears there hasn’t been much progress toward finding a way to boost state road funding in the Legislature’s “lame duck” session.   
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