A Willowick man says he was offered $50,000 from life insurance money to kill the ex-husband of a Beachwood woman, and that she seemed pleased when shown a pictured doctored to make it look like the man was dead.
Patrick Sabo, 40, of Willowick, told a Willoughby judge that his high school friend Christine Metter, also 40, was angry at her ex, who lives near Atlanta, because she claimed that he physically abused her when they were married. When he "jokingly" suggested in a Facebook message that she "save some money and put a hit on him,” she took him seriously.
Sabo, an ex-Army Ranger, said he thinks Metter and Metter's father, Al Zombory, offered him the job because they assumed he would know how to kill someone.
Testifying in a preliminary hearing, Sabo said he “played along” when Metter set up a dinner at the Captain's Club in Eastlake with her father, Zombory, 76, also of Beachwood, during which Zombory offered Sabo the money to kill Metter’s ex-husband. Afterward, he called Eastlake Police, who arranged for an undercover detective to seal the deal.
Metter and Zombory were arrested last Friday immediately after they paid the undercover detective for the fake murder, authorities said. They are charged with conspiracy to commit murder, a first-degree felony, and are both in Lake County Jail on $500,000 cash bonds.
Before the hearing, Sabo said the most surprising thing about the ordeal was Metter’s reaction to the doctored photo that the detective showed her to prove that her ex was dead.
“She looked at it and said, ‘Good,’” said Sabo. “She didn’t show any feeling.”
Defense attorneys argued that evidence is lacking to suggest Metter knew about the money. During his testimony, the detective said that Zombory handed him the $100,000 life insurance policy that served as payment.
The detective also testified that when Metter asked whether he made it look like a mugging or an accident he said, "No, I shot him in the head like you asked me to.”
The judge ruled after the hearing that there is enough evidence to send Metter’s case to a grand jury, which will decide whether to continue with the charges. Zombory did not ask for a similar hearing.
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