Arkansas woman arrested for alleged murder-for-hire plot

LITTLE ROCK (AP) – An Arkansas woman is facing charges for allegedly trying to hire a man, who was an undercover FBI agent, to kill her former son-in-law to prevent him from getting custody of her granddaughter over her daughter.

On Monday, Jeri Dianna Tarter, 69, of Jacksonville, made her initial appearance by video conference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth Deere. Tarter was arrested Friday after Deere issued an arrest warrant on Thursday, court records show. A criminal complaint had been filed that same day.

A complaint is used in federal court to hold defendants in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service until a grand jury can review their case. Tarter is being charged with use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported.

It was not immediately known if Tarter had an attorney to speak on her behalf.

Deere unsealed the complaint, which is supported by FBI agent Daniel Turner’s six-page affidavit. It states that Tarter met with a man on Oct. 7 at a Little Rock restaurant.

Agent Turner wrote that the man, who is identified only as a “reporting person,” said Tarter claimed that her daughter’s ex-husband sold drugs and had abused Tarter’s daughter and granddaughter. She asked the man to “take care of him” or “find somebody who can.” The man told Tarter he might know someone who could look into the drug allegation. A few days later, he called the Little Rock police.

On Oct. 14, during a monitored phone conversation between Tarter and the man, agent Turner listened as the man told Tarter that he was out of state but knew someone in Memphis who could possibly help.

Rob Bell, another agent, posed as the Memphis man and met Tarter on Oct. 20 at a Walmart in Jacksonville. “Tarter implied that she wanted her former son-in-law to suffer an accident,” the affidavit states. It says Bell attempted to clarify what she meant, and Tarter “clearly implied that… Bell should kill” him and make it look like an accident.

Tarter indicated that her daughter wasn’t aware of her plan, according to the affidavit. It also stated that Tarter told the agent that she “would do it herself if she were younger or 80 pounds lighter.”

The affidavit states that Tarter offered to pay Bell $1,500, but he said it would cost $2,000 and asked for $500 up front. Tarter paid Bell and later texted him her former son-in-law’s address, agent Turner said.

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