Looking to get out of going through a messy and expensive divorce, 27-year-old Stephen Perry of Carmel, Indiana, allegedly decided to ask a coworker to kill his estranged wife instead.
Perry and Allison Mayer were already heavily in debt, owing over $200,000 in student loans and living expenses.
According to prosecutors, Perry was desperate to avoid spending more money on legal fees to divorce Mayer, and also sought to prevent her from obtaining a portion of money he inherited from his mother in 2011.
The probable cause affidavit states that Perry, who was employed at a local Valvoline Instant Oil Change, approached a coworker and asked him if he could help him kill someone.
"You're black," Perry said according to the coworker, Adrian Howard. "I know y'all know people."
Thinking it was a joke at first, Howard wasn't laughing a few weeks later, on December 8th, when Perry approached him again with the same request.
This time, Howard was ready with a cellphone to record their conversation.
Perry offered Howard $15,000 and a counterfeit currency printer in exchange for offing his wife. "I just want this to be over and done with," Perry said, according to a transcript of their conversation. "So if she dies, I can drop the divorce lawsuit, she's dead and I'm free."
Perry did have one caveat: "You hurt my dog, the deal's off."
Howard wasted no time in contacting Mayer and handing her the audio of his conversation with Perry. She, in turn, passed it on to the police.
Perry was subsequently arrested and booked into Hamilton County Jail on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
His pretrial hearing has been set for mid-March, and the trial itself is expected to start in June.
[H/T: Guy Code Blog, mug shot via Hamilton County sheriff]