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Published: Friday, 12/22/2006

Findlay woman convicted in murder-for-hire plot

Cheryl Freed Cheryl Freed

FINDLAY - Cheryl Freed said she was "just mad" at her ex-husband when she spray-painted his house, but she had a harder time explaining why she paid someone to kill his new wife.

"I take full responsibility for it. It just got out of control," Freed said after pleading guilty yesterday in Hancock County Common Pleas Court to vandalism and conspiracy to commit aggravated murder.

The 45-year-old Findlay woman admitted to the court that in December, 2005, she made arrangements with a woman to have Colleen Freed killed.

She provided $1,000, a gun, and directions to Colleen Freed's workplace following a series of meetings with the hitwoman at area bars. "We'd meet at the Moose, AMVETS - places like that where we were drinking," Cheryl Freed said. "The more drinking, the more talk, and it all got out of hand."

Judge Reginald Routson accepted her pleas and ordered a presentence investigation.

Freed, who has been held in the county jail since her arrest last year, faces three to 10 years in prison and a fine up of to $20,000 for the conspiracy charge, six to 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine for vandalism, and a one-year mandatory sentence for a firearms specification.

Mark Miller, a county assistant prosecutor, said that as part of the plea agreement, Cheryl Freed would be expected to pay $4,082 in restitution for damage done to the Arlington home of Jeffrey Freed in March, 2005, and would forfeit a vehicle used in the commission of the crime.

He said the prosecution would not make a recommendation for her sentence and would not oppose concurrent sentences for the two crimes.

Neither Jeffrey or Colleen Freed attended the hearing.

"They were aware of today's proceedings, but elected not to be here today," Mr. Miller told the court yesterday.

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