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Arkansas woman pleads innocent in murder-for-hire plot, prosecutor says

by Nyssa Kruse | September 11, 2019 at 10:07 a.m.
Mary Byers-Diaz is charged with conspiracy to commit capital murder.

A Greenwood woman who authorities believe tried to pay a man to kill her husband pleaded innocent on Wednesday to conspiracy to commit capital murder, a prosecutor said.

Mary Byers-Diaz was charged with the felony on Monday after an investigation into claims by her handyman that she offered him a 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe in exchange for killing her husband, authorities said.

Byers-Diaz appeared in court Wednesday and was assigned a public defender, according to a statement from Daniel Shue, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' 12th Judicial District. Her bond was kept at $200,000.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Byers-Diaz was experiencing “marital problems” and told the handyman she would pay him to kill her husband.

The handyman was “disturbed,” according to the affidavit, and he reported the conversations to police on Thursday. The next day, he was sent by authorities to discuss the plan with Byers-Diaz while wearing a recording device.

During the conversation, Byers-Diaz and the man agreed he would stun her husband with a stun gun, break his neck and then place him in a “simulated” car crash, according to the affidavit. In exchange, the man would receive a 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe and “other property,” investigators wrote.

The affidavit said Byers-Diaz told the man she would persuade her husband to come to the residence and would signal to the handyman by calling him and talking about her dog, Abba.

When the handyman asked Byers-Diaz if she was sure about wanting to go through with the killing, Byers-Diaz said yes, and the man left with the Tahoe and a signed title, according to the affidavit.

A trial for Byers-Diaz has been set for March 2.


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