MUSKEGON, MI (PIX11) – In a remarkable act of forgiveness, the 28-year-old husband who was targeted for death by his New Jersey-born wife pleaded with a judge for leniency, right before his spouse, Julia Merfeld, was sentenced for conspiracy to have him murdered.
She received a minimum sentence of five years, eight months, before she gets a chance at parole. She could do up to twenty years.
“I know my wife is a wonderful person,” Jacob Merfeld, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard, tearfully told the judge. “I wholeheartedly forgive my wife for all she’s done in this act of hatred. I know my wife is a God-loving person.”
The 21-year-old mother of two—who was raised in Keyport, New Jersey—appeared for sentencing in Muskegon, Michigan—just over three months after she was recorded on undercover police footage trying to hire a hit man to whack her husband. Trouble was, the ‘hit man’ turned out to be a police detective in plainclothes.
“My tears are not because I’m seeking your pity, your honor,” Julia Merfeld said nervously to the judge. “My tears are tears of remorse.”
Merfeld’s husband, Jacob, is the father of her two, young children—a boy and a girl. The couple has been married four years.
Prosecutors said Merfeld wanted to kill her husband, so she could cash in his $400,000 insurance policy.
Back in April, one of Julia Merfeld’s co-workers went to police, claiming she wanted to pay him $50,000 to have her husband whacked.
Police then set up a sting operation, capturing Julia on undercover footage very casually discussing how Jacob Merfeld should be killed. There was talk of using insulin shots—or possibly shooting him outside the family home. Julia Merfeld laughed at that plan, because she didn’t want a mess inside the house.
The undercover footage went viral, as Julia Merfeld rationalized that she would rather kill Jacob Merfeld than divorce him, to spare breaking his heart.
Julia Merfeld pleaded guilty in early July, hoping to get some leniency on the sentence.
In court Tuesday, she said the two most important people in the world had forgiven her: her husband and God.
The couple’s children have been staying with Jacob’s parents in Wisconsin, since their mother’s arrest.
The husband passionately asked the judge, “Have mercy on my wife. Please don’t keep her away from me. I’m sure you know we have two children. Please don’t keep her away from them.”
But Julia Merfeld will only be seeing them on prison visits…for at least the next, half dozen years.