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Cody woman accused of trying to hire hitman to kill daughter’s boyfriend


By CJ Baker
Powell Tribune
Via- Wyoming News Exchange

POWELL – A 54-year-old Cody woman was arrested last week after she allegedly tried hiring an undercover officer to kill her daughter’s partner. 

“I just want him gone … for the way he treats my daughter,” Wendy D. Coe reportedly said, at one point suggesting the man’s death could be made to appear like a drug overdose. 

Park County prosecutors have charged Coe with solicitation to commit first-degree murder. They allege Coe committed the offense by “commanding, encouraging or facilitating the commission of murder in the first degree,” and that she did so “under circumstances strongly corroborative of the intention that the crime be committed.” 

Solicitation carries the same potential penalty as the underlying crime. In this case, a conviction would carry a life sentence. 

At Coe’s initial court appearance on Friday, Circuit Court Judge Joey Darrah set her bail at $100,000 on the “very, very serious charge.” However, the judge agreed to lower her bond to $50,000 cash or surety on Wednesday, in part because of concerns about her health. 

Charging documents indicate that Cody police began investigating Coe on Dec. 12, when an individual reported she had “solicited several people” to kill her daughter’s partner; according to that individual — who’s identified in the documents only as Confidential Person #20632 — Coe had specifically used language like “dead,” “murdered” and “in the ground.” 

On the morning of Dec. 20, Cody police had the person put Coe in touch with a Wyoming Division of Criminal agent, who posed as a potential hitman. 

Charging documents say Coe had the agent meet her behind the Dollar Tree store, where she was a manager at the time. 

According to Cody Police Detective Scott Burlingame’s account of the recorded and at times hard-to-make-out conversation, the agent asked Coe if $10,000 would be a fair price. 

“That’s fair,” Coe reportedly replied. “I just don’t have it.” 

She allegedly added it was not a time-sensitive issue and that she just wanted the boyfriend “gone.” Coe expressed concern about the boyfriend using drugs and treating her daughter “like crap.” 

According to the affidavit, the agent suggested that, “if it looked like a drug deal gone bad and he was shot or something like that, is that out of the ordinary?” 

“That’s not out of the ordinary,” Coe reportedly replied, adding that, “or if he OD’d … up the South Fork it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary.” 

The agent responded that staging an overdose would be difficult, explaining that, “I’d just as soon shoot him, if that’s fine with you.” 

“Works for me,” Coe allegedly replied. 

She gave the agent a description of the boyfriend’s vehicle and his workplace, but the affidavit indicates she didn’t provide any money. When the agent asked for $200 or $300 to purchase a stolen gun in Billings, Coe said she wouldn’t have that money until January and wouldn’t have $10,000 until April. 

At one point she reportedly texted the agent and said, “I’m sorry … but I can’t afford what we discussed.” 

In a follow-up conversation on the morning of Dec. 21 that was also recorded, the agent reportedly suggested that he could potentially commit the crime for a smaller amount of money. 

However, according to Burlingame’s recounting of the discussion, Coe “said she would not ask him to do the job for less than $10,000 as there was ‘too much risk involved’ for a lesser amount.” 

Ultimately, the affidavit indicates the agent left without payment, telling Coe “she had his number and [she] could reach out to him if something changes.” 

Coe was arrested hours later, being booked into the Park County Detention Center on the evening of Dec. 21. 

Her court-appointed defense attorney, Sam Krone, said Wednesday that she has a “very limited criminal history” and strong community ties, having lived in the area for over 20 years. 

“We understand this is a very serious charge, however … it is at this stage, still [an] allegation,” Krone said. 

He asked that bond be lowered to $50,000 cash or surety with a requirement that, outside of work and medical and legal appointments, she remain at home on house arrest with a location-tracking ankle monitor. 

However, Deputy Park County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Eichele asked to keep the original $100,000 figure in place as “adequate protection for society.” The prosecutor asserted that Coe has at least two prior felony convictions for “perjury, forgery, check-related type of incidences” and a couple unspecified, active warrants in Oregon. 

In adopting Krone’s recommendation, Darrah cited concern about some potentially serious health issues that Coe described to the court. 

“I hope you take advantage of the opportunity I’m gonna give you to get out of jail ….,” he told the defendant. 

Posting the bond will require Coe to either post $50,000 cash or to hire a bondsman for roughly $5,000. 

Also on Wednesday, Coe agreed to waive her right to a preliminary hearing and have her case transferred to Park County District Court, where she’ll next enter a plea to the felony solicitation charge. Krone said they signed the waiver “so we can begin the discovery process as soon as possible.” 

In an apparent coincidence, Coe’s daughter’s partner was jailed a day after Coe, after he was allegedly caught trying to steal a $78 beef roast and $137 worth of other items from the Cody Walmart. 

Charging documents say police also found a small amount of apparent meth in the man’s possession — and they allege the 29-year-old was both drunk and impaired when he drove to the store on the evening of Dec. 22. 

Charging documents allege he also has criminal cases pending in Oregon. 

As part of her bond conditions, Coe is barred from having any contact with the man or her daughter.

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