An Ohio woman who attempted to hire an undercover cop to kill the mother of her stepdaughters has a new trial after already receiving a seven-year prison sentence in 2016 for the same murder conspiracy crime. Last year, an appeals court overturned that ruling, admitting that the original indictment contained an error.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Tara Lambert, now 35, is being tried again by the Pickaway County Prosecutor in the 2015 murder-for-hire plot. She entered a not guilty plea at her arraignment Wednesday on two new counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Lambert was caught on camera hiring a hitman—who turned out to be an undercover cop—to kill her then-husband’s first wife Kellie Cooke. Lambert suggested that Cooke be thrown into a wood chipper.
NBC 4i Columbus notes that Lambert had spent a year and a half in prison before her June 2017 release when the original conviction was overturned on a language technicality.
Lambert is currently suing her original attorney James Kingsley for failing to notice an error in the original indictment that an appeals court judge agreed should have stopped the case from ever being tried.
CrimeOnline previously explained that the “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,” Lambert’s new lawyer Sam Shamansky told People. “The state did not do that.”
The Dispatch account additionally reveals that the judge in this current case has allowed Lambert to remain free on bond until her upcoming trial in April.
[Feature Photo: Tara Lambert/Pickaway County Jail]