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Press Release

Louisville Pediatrician Federally Indicted in Murder-for-Hire Plot

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Kentucky

Louisville, KY– A federal grand jury in Louisville returned a one count indictment on June 15, 2022, charging a Louisville physician with her role in a murder-for-hire scheme to kill her former husband. 

According to court documents, Dr. Stephanie M. Russell, 51, used facilities in interstate commerce, specifically telephones, to call and text a person Russell believed she was paying to kill her former husband.  In fact, the person Russell was plotting with is employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was working in an undercover capacity while communicating with Russell.

Russell is charged with the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.  The defendant was detained pending trial following a hearing before a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Kentucky, and at her arraignment on the single count indictment on June 16, 2022, she entered a plea of not guilty.  The case is scheduled for a jury trial before a U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Kentucky on August 22, 2022.  If convicted, Russell faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. There is no parole in the federal system. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of Kentucky and Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Louisville Field Office made the announcement.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa J. Ford is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Updated June 23, 2022