Friday, 9 June 2017

Judge overturns conviction of former Ohio model jailed for plotting to kill husband’s ex-wife

Judge overturns conviction of former Ohio model jailed for plotting to kill husband’s ex-wife
 The ex-model jailed for plotting to throw the mother of her stepchildren into a wood chipper is walking free because of a “fatally flawed” indictment.

The prosecution of Tara Lambert, of Columbus, Ohio, shouldn’t have moved forward because of an error in the language used to charge her, the Fourth Division Court of Appeals ruled this week.

Lambert, who is serving a seven-year sentence, could be released from an Ohio correctional facility as soon as Friday, her attorney, Sam Shamansky, told the Columbus Dispatch.

An Ohio jury found Lambert guilty of plotting to kill her husband’s ex-wife, Kellie Cooke, who had custody of his teenage daughters.

Prosecutors said Lambert paid $125 to a would-be assassin — actually an undercover detective — to throw Cooke into a wood chipper.

Lambert and her since-divorced husband, Brandon, were in a custody battle with Cooke and her husband, Shawn. Lambert was previously acquitted of a charge that she wanted Shawn dead, too.

She met the detective at a KFC parking lot, prosecutors said, where she gave him the money, personal information and a photo of Cooke.

“I need her away. Gone. Just put her in a chopper, you know like one of those lumberjack chopper things,” Lambert is recorded saying in one tape, the newspaper reported.

Shamansky, who represented Lambert during the appeals process, said prosecutors didn’t specifically lay out her plot.

“Did she buy a gun, for example? The prosecutor had to spell out exactly what that underlying overt act was that contributed here,” he told the newspaper. “The state did not do that.”

Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.

Judge Peter B. Abele also faulted her trial attorney, James Kingsley, for not spotting the error and trying to get the case dismissed.

Cooke told the Columbus Dispatch she wants Lambert’s departure from prison to be short-lived.

“She’s not innocent. She’s getting off on a technicality,” she said. “We’re not going to let this go. We’re going to fight until she’s back where she needs to be: in prison.”

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