In a truly shocking case out of Kentucky, Louisville pediatrician Stephanie Russell has been indicted by a federal grand jury of hiring a hit man to murder her ex-husband, as the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
According to the outlet, Russell, 51, was arrested back in May, and has remained in custody ever since due to concerns for the safety of the target of her plot as well as of their two young children, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
In the federal indictment, prosecutors allege that the doctor asked an undercover agent she thought was a hitman for hire to deliver “Christmas flowers” to her former spouse, which was actually shorthand for killing him so that she could then gain sole custody of the pair’s two children, as ABC News noted.
Authorities were reportedly first made aware of Russell’s intentions back in 2019, when the family’s nanny provided a sworn affidavit stating that the pediatrician asked her if she knew any “really bad people,” though prosecutors were unable to uncover sufficient evidence for criminal charges at the time.
Almost three years passed before a private investigator approached the FBI with information regarding what he suspected was a murder-for-hire plan hatched by the very same physician, an employee of whom told the FBI that nurses in the pediatric practice had been approached and asked for assistance in carrying out a hit on Crabtree.
Now, prosecutors assert that text messages, financial information, and other details prove that Russell went ahead with her plan to have Crabtree killed, even going so far as to arrange for it to look as though she received a suicide note from her former husband after the fact.
Russell reportedly expressed concern to the undercover agent she believed was poised to murder Crabtree that “she had been vocal about her hate” towards her ex-husband to a large number of people, and that a suicide note could help deflect any suspicion that might arise following his death.
The doctor ultimately agreed to pay $7,000 for the job to be done and indicated that the trigger man could also keep $10,000 known to be in a safe at Crabtree’s home, and a $3,500 down payment Russell said would be waiting for the hitman in a specimen box outside her office was indeed found there, as promised, according to authorities.
An August trial date has been scheduled in Russell’s case, and if she is convicted, she faces up to a decade behind bars.