KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Joann R. Stepp offered to pay $4,000 to a hit man who would kill her ex-husband and bring her his tongue, Bates County authorities allege.
However, the killer would have to wait for the payoff until the 32-year-old Stepp received her income tax refund.
Bates County prosecutors recently charged Stepp with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Stepp has pleaded not guilty, according to court records. Bond was set at $300,000.
According to court documents, the Bates County Sheriff's Office received word in early June that Stepp wanted to find someone to kill her ex-husband.
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An undercover detective arranged a meeting with Stepp last week at the Rich Hill cemetery. During the meeting, Stepp allegedly agreed to pay the undercover detective $4,000 from her income tax refund, which she expected to receive at the beginning of the year.
The two met the next day at the cemetery, where Stepp gave the detective a knife that she said belonged to her ex-husband, court records stated.
At one point, Stepp asked that the detective bring her the ex-husband's tongue as proof that the murder took place. She then asked him to bring her pictures of the ex-husband's dead body so that Stepp could show them to her son "that mom had got it done," according to court records.
Stepp allegedly told the undercover detective that she was "cold-hearted... when someone (messes) with my family," authorities alleged.
The detective said he left the second meeting with the understanding that he had been hired to kill the ex-husband.