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Louisville pediatrician charged in murder-for-hire plot

Stephanie Russell, 52, of Louisville, was taken into custody by FBI agents on May 19.
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 1:31 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville pediatrician has been arrested on federal charges for trying to hire someone to kill her ex-husband.

Stephanie Russell, 52, of Louisville, practices at KidzLife Pediatrics in Norton Commons. She was taken into custody by FBI agents on May 19.

Court records state on May 15, Russell made contact with a person she believed she was hiring to kill her ex-husband. The person Russell had contacted was actually an FBI undercover employee.

Russell agreed to pay a total of $7,000 for the murder, according to officials. She put $3,500, half of the agreed upon amount, in a drop box outside her medical office on May 18.

She was to pay the remaining $3,500 after the murder took place, records said.

According to court records from 2020, this was not the first time Russell has been accused of trying to hire a hitman. Court documents show Russell and her ex-husband have been in a custody battle over their two children for at least two years.

In 2020, a judge ruled Russell should lose custody of her children after a Guardian Ad Litem, or a person chosen by a judge to represent children in court, accused Russell of “coaching” her children, causing “emotional harm” and attempting to hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband in May 2018.

Russell’s attorney denied the allegation and called it “preposterous” in a lawsuit filed against the judge, who ruled the pediatrician’s ex-husband should have temporary full custody of the two children.

Russell made an initial court appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge late this morning. She is scheduled to have preliminary and detention hearing on May 24.

If convicted, Russell could serve up to 10 years in federal prison. There is no parole in the federal judicial system.

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WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)

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