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UPDATE 1:45 p.m.
MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Muskegon County judge has sentenced a woman for trying to hire a hitman to kill her husband instead of divorcing him.

Julia Merfeld has been sentenced to at least five years, eight months in prison and up to 20 years for the crime.

Merfeld addressed the court and said that her husband who was the target of the hit has forgiven her and so has God. She said that she knows things would have been much worse if the undercover officer who posed as the potential hitman had actually been a hitman and carried out the murder. She said that she knew she should be punished, but asked for a lighter punishment.

Merfeld's husband also addressed the court and publicly forgave his wife for an "act of hatred." He called her a wonderful person and asked that she not serve prison time which would keep her away from him and their kids.

Muskegon County Prosecutor DJ Hilson also addressed the court and said that while he appreciates the ability to forgive, but crimes still need to be punished. He wondered to the court how remorseful Merfeld would have been if the hit had been carried out.

But Judge William Marietti said that the court does not have the power to forgive, but its purpose is to administer justice. He followed sentencing guidelines, sending Merfeld to prison for at least five years and eight months.

WZZM 13's Jon Mills was in court and will have more on WZZM 13 News at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
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MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) - A Muskegon woman accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill her husband will be sentenced Tuesday afternoon.

Julia Merfeld, 21,pleaded guilty last month. She is now looking at a possibility of life in prison on a charge of solicitation of a murder.

During Merfeld's court appearance last April she had little to say --a big difference from what she told an undercover Michigan State Police detective. She met with him to describe why her 27-year-old husband, and father of her two children, was better off dead.

"That's why I said, surprise me with how you do it so I'm shocked when it happens." Merfeld told the detective in undercover video. "It's terrible how this sounds, but it's easier than divorcing him; I don't have to worry about the judgment from my family. I don't have to worry about breaking his heart."

There was another motive for Merfeld according to police --she was also after her husband's $400,000 life insurance policy.

Merfeld will be in court at 1:30 p.m. As long as the sentencing isn't delayed, we will bring you the judge's decision here, and on WZZM 13 News at 5:30 and 6:00 p.m.

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