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A Chippewa Falls woman charged in a September 2019 “murder for pay” scheme is heading to a three-day trial starting April 6.

Melanie S. Schrader, 48, 438 Olive Street, is charged in Chippewa County Court with conspiracy to commit intentional first degree homicide, carrying a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and 20 years of supervision prolonged.

Schrader is still incarcerated in the Chippewa County Jail on $ 250,000 bail.

The case was originally scheduled to be heard by Judge Steve Cray, who has since retired, and she was reassigned to new Judge Ben Lane. However, Schrader’s new defense attorney Michael Cohen filed a request in August for a deputy judge to oversee the case; it has now been given to Cray.

According to the criminal complaint and police reports, Schrader repeatedly asked a friend to set up a meeting with someone who would shoot and kill Derek Gerke, the father of their child, in exchange for $ 10,000.

She met one person in person – who was actually an undercover Criminal Investigations Department – and brought a deposit and photos of Gerke, so the hitman would know who she wanted to be killed.

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She was arrested on September 12, 2019. She withdrew her preliminary inquiry on June 4 and pleaded not guilty at a hearing on July 29.


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