A former model who was found guilty of hiring a hit man to kill her husband’s ex-wife was released from prison, after an Ohio appeals judge reversed her 2016 conviction due to a technicality.
Tara Lambert, 34, was found guilty last year of first-degree felony charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder. The evidence was damning, with her being caught on camera hiring a hitman, who turned out to be an undercover detective. She even suggested that that he throw her husband’s ex-wife into a wood chipper.
Lambert’s attorney, Sam Shamansky, spoke to PEOPLE and said her conviction was overturned last Tuesday. She was released from the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, where she had been sentenced to serve seven years. Lambert served just over one year.
The conviction was invalidated due to a bizarre misstep involving the language used in the original indictment. The judge presiding over the appeal noted that, due to this error, the case should never have been tried.
It boiled down to this: Prosecutors were required to name a specific “overt act” that Lambert committed in order to charge her with conspiracy to commit aggravated murder. Her lawyer argued that prosecutors were not exact in the language they used in the original indictment.
“Did she buy a gun, for example? The prosecutor had to spell out exactly what that underlying overt act was that contributed here,” he argued. “The state did not do that.”
The judge agreed, noting that Lambert’s original counsel, James Kingsley, failed to notice the error, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Shamansky even filed a malpractice lawsuit on Lambert’s behalf, against Kingsley, six weeks ago. She is asking for $25,000 in damages.
Kingsley has filed a countersuit.
The would-be victim, Kellie Cooke, said that she won’t stop until Lambert is back in prison.
“She’s not innocent. She’s getting off on a technicality. We’re not going to let this go. We’re going to fight until she’s back where she needs to be: in prison.”
Kellie Cooke has two children with Lambert’s now ex-husband, Scott. She has since remarried and currently has custody of both children.
[Featured image: Pickaway County Jail]