Wife’s trial date set in alleged Butler County murder-for-hire

A trial date has been set for a Madison Twp. woman accused of arranging to have her estranged husband killed.

Shelly Carter, 42, who was indicted in October on one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, is scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 23 in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

RELATED: 3 charged in alleged murder-for-hire plot

Casey Fryman, 32, and his wife Sarah Fryman, 21, of Riverview Avenue in Middletown, are also facing one count each of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, all first-degree felonies, for their alleged part in the murder-for-hire plot.

During a September preliminary hearing in Middletown Municipal Court, police said Carter was in fear of losing her home and custody of her children when she arranged to have her estranged husband killed in a car crash.

A plan was hatched for a hit man to crash into Christian Carter’s car during the early morning hours of Sept. 17 near the couple’s Browns Run Road home, according to Middletown police.

The “accident” was timed to coincide for when Christian Carter would be dropping off the couple’s children, and Shelly Carter instructed the hit man to “do it even if the kids were in the car,” Meehan said during the preliminary hearing.

Shelly Carter allegedly offered to pay Donald Sandlin $1,000 — $500 up front and $500 after the job was completed — and give him an SUV as payment.

Instead, Sandlin told police about the alleged plot, Meehan said.

Police were conducting surveillance on Carter and the Frymans at the Browns Run Road home and at Carter’s dog grooming business on Vannest Avenue when they received an anonymous tip Sept. 22 that they were at the Madison Inn. Meehan said police, along with Butler County Sheriff’s deputies, went to the bar and arrested all three.

Also arrested at the bar was Carter’s boyfriend, Ryan Stark.

Stark was not involved in the murder-for-hire conspiracy but confirmed the alleged plot, according to Meehan.

Stark, 23, of Cincinnati, was also indicted by a grand jury on two counts of carrying a concealed weapon and illegal possession of a firearm in a liquor permit premises, fourth and fifth-degree felonies. Stark plead guilty to one count of carrying a concealed weapon, a fourth-degree felony. The other two charges against Stark were dismissed, according to court records.

Sentencing for Stark is scheduled for Dec. 12 by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael Oster. He faces a maximum of 18 months in jail.

Carter is being held on $750,000 bond and $250,000 each for both Frymans.