She was willing to kill for her “dream house.”
An Ohio dog groomer was collared last week for allegedly hiring a hitman to zap her estranged husband in the middle of their divorce.
Shelly Ann Carter, 42, offered an assassin $1,000 and a car to slay her 44-year-old hubby but the hitman had a change of heart, police say.
Carter’s 23-year-old boyfriend, Ryan Stark, was also arrested in the plot.
According to Middletown cops, the hired killer was close to doing the deed until learning that Carter’s sons, ages 7 and 11, would also be endangered. The man, yet to be publicly identified, then went to police.
A search warrant revealed the mother of two wanted the hitman to off her spouse in a fatal car crash, WLWT reported. She allegedly told the man where and when to commit the crime and that she didn’t care if he killed her kids too.
“It’s a totally bizarre case,” Lt. Jim Cunningham told The Daily Beast. “Typically we don’t have a hitman get a conscience.
“It’s just good that the guy came forward,” Cunningham said. “Obviously for the husband, but especially for the children, because she [Shelly Carter] didn’t care that the kids were in harm’s way or not.”
On Saturday, Carter’s target spoke to reporters outside the city hall of Middletown, about 40 miles north of Cincinnati.
“You never expect something like this to happen to you,” said the visibly-shaken husband, Christian “Tony” Carter. “You see it on TV and in the movies, but would never expect it to happen to yourselves.
“I’ve truly gone through about every emotion one could think of: anger, to scared, to confused and everything else in between,” Tony Carter added, before thanking police and the man who was hired to kill him.
Cops haven’t released a motive but Shelly Carter—who uses the last name Fryman on social media—was desperate to keep her home, relatives say.
Just before the plot was foiled, a judge in the ex-couple’s divorce ruled they’d have to sell their new house, one family friend said.
“She wanted the house. It was her dream house. They bought the land 11 years ago and they finally started building it last year,” said Amy Wray, a friend of Tony Carter.
“She decided she wanted the house no matter how she could get it,” Wray told The Daily Beast. “But luckily, that didn’t go through.”
Shelly Carter even designed the home on Browns Run Road. “She wanted something that was rustic,” Wray said on Wednesday. “She said she wanted a haunted castle. It had dark tones. It’s a gorgeous house.
“It was her dream, it’s what she wanted, and Tony built it so she could have her dream.”
Carter, who police say confessed to the setup, is charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder—one each for her husband and her two children.
Her bond was set at $750,000, and she’s slated to appear in court Friday.
The dog groomer first met the unnamed hitman, who is not facing charges, on Sept. 16 and paid him $500, Local 12 reported. She planned to pony up another $500 and an SUV once the job was done, according to police.
The day before the meet-and-greet, Carter’s attorney filed a motion for exclusive occupancy, online court records show. (When reached by The Daily Beast, the lawyer declined to comment on Carter’s divorce proceedings.)
Cops executed a search warrant on Carter’s home on Sept. 21, before finding her and Stark inside the Madison Inn restaurant.
The much-younger boyfriend, who has a prior felony conviction, was allegedly carrying a .22 caliber handgun. He’s charged with having weapons under disability and possessing a firearm in a liquor establishment.
Carter’s half-brother, Casey Fryman, 32, and his wife Sarah Fryman, 21, were charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder. The couple introduced Carter to the would-be hitman, authorities say.
It’s not the first time cops were called to Carter’s residence.
According to the Journal-News, Butler County deputies visited the former couple’s home several times for domestic disputes.
During one February incident, Shelly Carter allegedly slapped her father-in-law and smashed the windshield and taillights on her ex-husband’s car.
In April, Tony Carter dialed cops because he was concerned about his children’s welfare, the Journal-News reported.
The following month, sheriff’s deputies were called when Tony Carter and his new girlfriend were at the home and Shelly Carter appeared.
On Sept. 17, Shelly Carter allegedly let air out of the tires of the new couple’s car, the Journal-News revealed.
Friends took to social media to express shock over the allegations against Carter, who owned Dog Daze Grooming Studio.
“We knew she was crazy but I didn’t think she was that crazy,” one acquaintance wrote on Facebook, before adding, “smh poor tony.”
Another friend of the couple added, “She used to be an awesome, nice person. She got hooked up with the wrong person. Wow.”
It’s unclear how Carter met her 20-something beau. According to her Facebook profile, they’ve been in a relationship since March 2016.
Tony Carter’s Facebook profile states he got married in 2011. That year on Christmas Day, Shelly Carter wrote in a post, “Thank you Lord for blessing me when meeting the Carter family!!! You gave me the gift I have needed for all my life.”
Carter presented herself as a dog groomer and also sold puppies, according to a review of Facebook posts.
She was also a Buckeye State Martha Stewart, posting pictures of craft holiday displays and furniture remodeling projects.
Wray told The Daily Beast that Carter was just an “average woman.”
“From the outside, she had everything a woman would want,” Wray said. “Two kids, a husband, a gorgeous house, her own business—then it just went horribly wrong.”