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Prosecutors drop murder-for-hire charges against Lansing woman

The decision by Ingham County prosecutors to drop murder-for-hire charges against a Lansing woman demonstrates how witnesses can be unreliable. Lansing police say that the claims of a key witness against the woman were at least partially untrue, causing the prosecution to dismiss the charges without prejudice.

According to the Lansing State Journal, the case began when a person facing drug charges “approached” police with claims that the woman had offered to pay him to kill her abusive live-in boyfriend. It is not clear from the article if this was the witness later found to have been lying.

Based on the witness’ word, police began surveillance on the woman, and sent the informant to meet with the suspect and further discuss the alleged plot. An agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, posing as a killer for hire, met twice with the suspect before she was arrested.

How the witness’ lies came to light, and the exact nature of the untruths, is not mentioned in the article. But they led prosecutors to dismiss the charges on constitutional grounds. However, Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III said the charges were being dropped without prejudice, meaning his office might resurrect the charges later. The investigation is still going on, Dunnings said.

The suspect’s defense attorney has previously said the informant’s motivation was to get drug charges against him dismissed, implying that his honesty was questionable.

A dismissal without prejudice may not mean the matter is completely behind you, but it can be a big relief for someone wrongfully accused of a crime.

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