UPDATE: Woman convicted in murder-for-hire case to spend 3.5 years in prison
MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) - The woman convicted of offering money and sex to a man to kill her boyfriend will go to prison.
Jessica Strom, 33, of Merrill, was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison, and four years extended supervision after that.
Earlier this year, Strom was charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree intentional homicide earlier this year. In a deal with prosecutors in Marathon County court, Strom pleaded no contest and the charge was amended to solicitation of first-degree intentional homicide.
During the sentencing hearing Tuesday, special prosecutor Ralph Uttke said Strom had been planning to kill her boyfriend for a long time. “This wasn't a joke like Ms. Strom has said,” Uttke told the court.
Uttke argued Strom is not credible, saying she has tried to minimize the seriousness of this offense since the beginning.
“This defendant has taken no responsibility, claims no remorse for what she did. She says it was a joke,” argued Uttke. “The fact is, all Ms. Strom had to do was end the relationship, she didn't have to attempt to end the life of the person she was in that relationship with.”
In an emotional statement, Strom told the court she was sorry.
“I hit rock bottom,” said Strom. “Yes, I did say those things. But, it was wrong and I did not mean it.”
Strom told the court she made a mistake and was just venting to a friend, not planning a serious crime.
“It is my fault for allowing my emotions and my tongue to speak so foolishly even though I was venting my frustrations and just joking around,” said Strom.
Defense attorney James Runyon told the court Strom should be protected, not locked up.
Runyon referenced a 26-page victim impact statement written by Strom's boyfriend. In the statement, the victim wrote that Strom should be reunited with her children and he did not feel like his life was in danger. Runyon told the court it was that toxic relationship that led Strom down this path.
"He should have walked away, she should have walked away. Some how or another she's a moth that keeps flying back to a flame,” said Runyon.
The case has gained national attention since the beginning. The sentencing hearing was no different. A crew from ABC news was in the courtroom to see the conclusion of this case.