Kentucky doctor charged with plotting to have ex-girlfriend killed while delivering ‘Christmas flowers’ after custody battle


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She was caring for children for a living, until federal prosecutors allege she tried to pay a stranger $7,000 to care for her former husband — for good.

A Kentucky pediatrician was remanded without bail on Thursday after the Justice Department accused her of conspiring to kill her ex-husband in an alleged murder-for-hire involving nurses in his office, a former nanny and an undercover agent.

Dr. Stephanie Russell of Louisville allegedly contacted her subordinates at Kidz Life Pediatrics for help in finding a hitman before one of them alerted the FBI.

Dr Stephanie Russell was taken to the Oldham County Jail in La Grange at around 5.40pm on Thursday, jail records show.
(Oldham County Jail)

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DOJ documents allege she referred to the delivery of “Christmas flowers” as a euphemism for murdering her ex, who had won custody of their children after a court battle.

Reached by phone, her ex-husband Rick Crabtree told Fox News Digital he could not comment as the investigation was still ongoing.

The federal indictment alleges that the custody battle over their two children was a motive in the conspiracy. She accused her ex of child abuse, sparking a Louisville police investigation that first revealed rumors of the former nanny’s alleged plans, according to court documents.

The DOJ says Dr. Russell referred to "Christmas flowers" frequently when discussing the alleged murder-for-hire conspiracy.

The DOJ says Dr. Russell frequently referred to “Christmas flowers” in discussions of the alleged murder-for-hire plot.
(Department of Justice)

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A Louisville detective interviewed Crabtree, who told him he believed Russell was “attempting to hire an assassin to kill him in order to take full custody of their two children,” according to the criminal complaint. The detective contacted the FBI.

A witness “assumed Russell was joking, until Russell asked … if he knew of any ‘really bad people’ who could get rid of Crabtree,” the complaint alleges.

But the FBI could not corroborate the murder conspiracy allegations, according to the complaint, and Louisville police found no evidence to support Russell’s accusations that his ex had abused their children. Authorities dropped both investigations, until a private detective uncovered more information about Russell’s alleged efforts to have her husband murdered.

The PI found two unnamed witnesses, both connected to Russell’s medical practice, who cooperated with the FBI. One of them toyed with the alleged plot, going so far as to claim they had found a potential hitman before backing down and claiming the hitman was ‘dead’. The witness also quit her job at Russell’s office and attempted to cut off contact.

Dr. Russell reportedly discussed the plot with several employees at his Louisville pediatric practice.

Dr. Russell reportedly discussed the plot with several employees at his Louisville pediatric practice.
(Department of Justice)

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But Russell allegedly reached out about “flowers” again, and the alarmed former employee put her in touch with a new suspected hitman, who was actually an undercover FBI employee.

In mid-May, Russell allegedly asked the contact to kill his ex and make it look like a suicide for $7,000.

The agent collected half of the payment from a lab sample drop box outside Russell’s office on May 18, court documents show. The next day, she was taken to the Oldham County Jail in La Grange, records show. She was sentenced to be held without bail.

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She faces charges of using interstate commercial facilities to attempt to commit murder-for-hire. The judge scheduled an arraignment for June 16.

U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of Kentucky said she could face up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted.


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