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The Michigan woman who went through a parody website in an attempt to hire a hitman to murder her ex-husband has been sentenced.
Wendy Lynn Wein, 52, pleaded guilty in November to charges of solicitation for murder and using a computer to commit a crime, as previously reported. Wein was accused of creating a fake name to sign up for the “Rent-A-Hitman” website to solicit the hitman in the spring of 2020.
On Thursday, a judge sentenced Wein to seven to 24 years in prison, according to MLive.com.
Wein, a South Rockwood native, didn’t realize the website was a parody.
“I come from a small town where everyone knows everybody,” Wein said at sentencing. “I’ve humiliated my family doing this.”
The “Rent-A-Hitman” website offers the tongue-in-cheek “ideal solution for your particular problem,” glibly complying with the Hitman Privacy Protection Act of 1964 (HIPPA). Wein created a pseudonym and filled out a “service request form” in 2020.
The website’s creator, Bob Innes, confirmed Wein’s intentions when he asked her if she still required his services and if he could arrange to have a field operative meet her at a designated location.
Wein answered “yes” to both questions.
Innes, who created the website in 2005, turned the information over to the Michigan State Police.
“I really didn’t think people were gonna be that stupid,” Innes said in a 2020 Rolling Stone interview. “It was not my intention to set up a snare for some people.”
Though Wein used a fake name, she used real-life identifying information before investigators with the state police arranged a meeting between Wein and the purported hitman.
“If the intent wasn’t so serious here, this would almost be comical, but it’s not,” Monroe Circuit Judge Daniel White said on Thursday. “Nobody looking at it could have believed this website was real, but you did. And this didn’t pop up on your Facebook feed; you went looking for it.”
Wein gave the undercover officer a down payment of $200 and promised a total of $5,000 in exchange for her ex-husband’s murder.
“I take full responsibility for my actions, and I hope a lesson is learned by my example,” Wein said in court. “I had no right to lash out at anyone, and in a manner of minutes, I changed everyone’s lives.”
Bob Innes claims he gets requests for many types of scenarios, including assisted suicide, kidnapping, and pranks against friends. In instances of people seeking to harm others, which account for about 10% of the requests, Innes asks them the same two questions he asked Wein: are his services still required, and should he arrange a meeting between the applicant and a field operative.
“If I never hear back from them, maybe they have figured it out,” Innes told the Rolling Stone. “But if they respond back with ‘yes,’ ‘OK, I’ll put you in contact with the field operatives. I’ll be your matchmaker.’”
The judge credited Wein for 545 days spent in jail at the sentencing.
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