Kentucky pediatrician arrested in alleged murder for hire plot to have hitman kill ex-husband

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A pediatrician in Kentucky was arrested on a federal charge related to an alleged murder-for-hire scheme. 

Stephanie Russell, 52, of Louisville, Kentucky, contacted someone on May 15 who she allegedly hired to murder her ex-husband, according to court records. The children’s doctor allegedly agreed to pay that individual – an undercover FBI employee – $7,000 in exchange for murdering her ex-husband. 

Russell placed $3,500 outside her medical office in a drop box as half of the payment on May 18, according to a federal criminal complaint and arrest warrant issued Thursday. She allegedly agreed to pay the other half once the murder took place. The FBI arrested Russell on May 19. 

Stephanie Russell, a pediatrician in Louisville, Kentucky, is accused of agreeing to pay an undercover FBI agent posing as a hitman $7000 to kill her ex-husband. 

Stephanie Russell, a pediatrician in Louisville, Kentucky, is accused of agreeing to pay an undercover FBI agent posing as a hitman $7000 to kill her ex-husband. 
(Oldham County Detention Center)

Russell made her initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky on Friday. She is scheduled to appear again for preliminary and detention hearings in the U.S. Gene Snyder Courthouse on Tuesday, May 24 at 11:00 a.m.

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The medical doctor is charged with use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.  If convicted at trial, she faces a maximum term of up to 10 years in federal prison, U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of Kentucky announced. There is no parole in the federal system. 

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The FBI and the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department are investigating the case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Marisa Ford, according to the Justice Department.  

WLKY reported that Russell is being held at a federal prison in Oldham County. 

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