Christine Metter has been found guilty of trying to arrange the murder of her ex-husband, a plot that began when she complained about him to an old friend during a Facebook chat.
Metter, 41, of Beachwood, OH, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder after prosecutors say she and her father, Al Zombory, tried to hire a hit man to kill David Metter, her ex-husband. Zombory is to be tried later.
Deliberations lasted about 30 minutes Wednesday and three hours this morning.
Metter faces up to ten years in prison for the offenses.
She closed her eyes and swallowed hard when Judge Eugene Lucci read the verdict, and turned away from news cameras as handcuffs were placed on her wrists.
She is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 23.*
Metter’s trial lasted seven days, plus a full day of jury selection. She was charged with two counts of conspiring to commit aggravated murder and found guilty of both. The counts will be merged for sentencing.
Prosecutor Lisa Neroda said she was pleased with the verdict, and, “Due to the efforts of the Eastlake Police Department, and in particular Detective Bowersock, this defendant was brought to justice for trying to have David Metter killed.”
She added that the Eastlake Police Department’s efforts protected David Metter from harm.
Eastlake Police Chief remarked on the unusualness of the case, but added, “There’s nothing routine or ordinary, just in this line of work, anymore, because with computers and everything that’s out there. It increases the complexity of how some of the criminal element is happening.”
The conspiracy started with a Facebook chat, said witness Patrick Sabo, who called police after he said Zombory offered him $50,000 to kill Metter's ex-husband.
In the chat, which was obtained by prosecutors from Facebook, Metter complained about her ex, and Sabo said, "Why don't you save your money and hire a hit man LMAO." He said he was joking, but that Metter and her father took it seriously.
Defense attorney Michael Lear's attempt to tear down Sabo's credibility during the trial, arguing that he is motivated by money and fame, did not lead to an acquittal.
Lear said that he was disappointed in the verdict but declined to comment further on the case.
Zombory is in jail on a $500,000 bond. His trial is scheduled for Jan. 31.
*Editor's Note: Metter's sentencing was originally scheduled for March 1.