In July 2015, a model from the small town of Circleville, Ohio, made big headlines after hatching a plot to have the mother of her stepchildren murdered.
Tara Lambert, a 33-year-old former model, had gotten into a number of arguments relating to the custody of the two girls with their mom, Kellie Cooke.
Eventually she decided that she wanted Cooke “gone” and turned to Facebook to find someone to get the job done.
According to Columbus Monthly, Lambert messaged an old school friend, whom she thought might know someone who could act as an “assassin,” and arranged a meeting.Image Credit: Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office
She soon met up with the potential killer in a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant parking lot, and offered him $125 as a down payment for the murder, The Daily Mail reported.
But he wasn’t an assassin, the man was an undercover police officer — and the whole conversation was being recorded.
According to Columbus Monthly, Lambert told the undercover officer that she wanted Cooke dealt with. With a flip of her ponytail, she said:
“I’ve had a problem for seven years … I need her away. Gone. Uncommunicative.”
When he asked how the murder should go down, Lambert suggested that he put Cooke in a wood chipper. She laughed and said:
“Oh my God. Just put her in a chopper, you know like one of those lumberjack chopper things.”
During the 10-minute conversation inside a car, Lambert made sure the man knew that she wanted the mother of her teenage stepchildren dead, and was actually looking forward to it. She told the undercover agent:
“I’m gonna be so excited, I just can’t even tell you. I’m so happy.”
The evidence against the former model was damning, and she was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, according to The Daily Mail.
After her January trial, in which Cooke’s husband called Lambert a “demon,” the jury deliberated for just 45 minutes before coming up with a verdict.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, Lambert was found guilty and sentenced to seven years behind bars for the first-degree felony.
But now, she may not be spending that time locked away.
Nancy Grace to talk about the Tara Lambert trial tonight. pic.twitter.com/RjwRiBejz4
— Nancy Radcliff (@Nancy_Herald) February 25, 2016
According to the Circleville Herald, Lambert’s conviction was overturned on Wednesday by the Ohio 4th District Court of Appeals.
Lambert’s lawyer, Samuel Shamansky, claimed that the indictment did not specify what “overt act” she had committed, which a source told the Circleville Herald was grounds to throw out the conviction. The source said:
“[Shamansky]’s contention with the indictment was that it had to say what she did to conspire, but the indictment did not. It said she conspired but did not say in what way.”
That means that indictment would need to name the action Lambert specifically took to conspire, such as trying to hire an assassin, which was apparently not clarified.
It’s a technicality — but it means that means Lambert’s fate is up in the air for now.
The Pickaway County Prosecutor’s Office has not announced next steps for the case, according to the Circleville Herald.