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An Arkansas grandmother was arrested last week after allegedly trying to hire a hitman to kill her former son-in-law over the custody battle he'd been embroiled in with her daughter.
Jeri Tarter, 69, allegedly first contacted an acquaintance about killing her daughter’s ex-husband on Oct. 7, according to a criminal complaint obtained by local station KTHV. Meeting at a Chili’s restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas, Tarter allegedly told the man that her former son-in-law – who is battling her daughter for custody over their child – was abusive and sold drugs. She asked the acquaintance to “either take care of him or find somebody who can,” according to the complaint.
After Tarter allegedly phoned the man asking for updates two days later, he called the police. FBI agents listened in as he called Tarter back and told her he knew a hitman out of state, in Memphis, Tenn., according to the Associated Press.
An FBI agent posing as the killer met with Tarter last Tuesday in a Walmart parking lot. Upon meeting him, Tarter handed the agent $100 up front and “clearly implied that … he should kill” her former son-in-law, according to the complaint.
She allegedly told the agent she’d previously tried hiring another hitman for the job, but he’d backed out. She said that “she wasn’t afraid to go to prison and would do it herself if she were younger or 80 pounds lighter,” according to the complaint.
Tarter said that her daughter was not aware of this plan, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. However, she said both she and her daughter had previously been arrested on charges of kidnapping her grandchild at another point in the custody fight.
Tarter allegedly offered the undercover agent $1500 for the murder, but he demanded $2000 with $500 up front, AP reports. Tarter allegedly gave the agent his down-payment and later texted him the target’s address.
She told him she wanted the job done “before the coming weekend,” according to the complaint.
Tarter was arrested last Thursday and charged with using interstate commerce facilities in ordering a murder for hire, KTHV reports. She made her initial court appearance on Monday.
It’s unclear whether she has an attorney who can comment on her behalf.
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