An aspiring model from Ohio who admitted she tried to hire a hitman to murder her husband's ex-girlfriend is set to go back to prison after her first sentence was overturned on a technicality.
Tara Arbogast (also known as Tara Lambert) pleaded guilty for a second time on Wednesday to conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, the Associated Press reported, and was sentenced to five years in prison. She was originally convicted back in 2016 after a guilty plea, but had to enter her plea again this week because the original case was thrown out due to a language issue.
In a 2015 meetup in the parking lot of a Kentucky Fried Chicken, Arbogast thought she was arranging the murder of Kellie Cooke with a hitman — but it turned out she was chatting with an undercover cop and everything was caught on a hidden camera, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Police say she gave that officer a $125 down payment in to kill Cooke and then dispose of her body in a woodchipper, according to WSYX in Columbus.
“I need her away. Gone,” she said, according to the report. “Just put her in a chopper, you know like one of those lumberjack chopper things.”
At the time of Arbogast’s conviction in 2016, she apologized to Cooke in court, and said, "I never intended for this situation to get so out of control.”
Cooke is the mother of Arbogast’s two step-daughters.
In 2016, Arbogast was sentenced to seven years behind bars. She served a year and a half in jail before the 4th District Court of Appeals overturned her conviction last year because of an error in the language in the original charges, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
On Wednesday, Cooke's daughter 18-year-old Aspen Lambert read a statement in court on her mom's behalf.
“I knew what you were capable of, she said. “You lied, manipulated and controlled everything my girls done. [...] You wanted my girls. [...] When you figured out I was on to you, you snapped.”
Arbogast will begin her prison sentence on July 30. She will get credit for time already served.
[Photo: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.