Wife is accused of soliciting murder

TOPEKA — A northeast Kansas woman already charged in her husband's fatal shooting was charged Wednesday with soliciting someone to commit the killing.

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor filed an additional charge Wednesday of solicitation of first-degree murder against Michelle L. Eberhardt, 43, of Tecumseh.

Eberhardt and her son, Scott M. Mosher, 19, were charged earlier with premeditated first-degree murder in Sunday's death of Gerald S. Eberhardt, 51, at the family's Tecumseh home.

A spokesman for the district attorney said Monday that Mosher, the victim's stepson, confessed to pulling the trigger. Mosher is being held on $750,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court next week with his mother.

Also being held are Stephanie A. Menard, 21, and Derrick Dewayne Haase, 20, both of whom are charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. The District Attorney's Office said Haase and Mosher were members of the same gang in Shawnee County.

The suspects were awaiting legal representation to be appointed by the court.

Lt. John Ostenson, spokesman for the Shawnee County Sheriff's Office, said a handgun was recovered Monday afternoon and the authorities are hopeful that tests will confirm that it was the one used in the shooting.

He said interviews were continuing in the case, which he described as an isolated incident in Tecumseh, a town on the edge of Topeka. Though Mosher and Haase were both in the county's gang database, Ostenson said the crime is not considered gang-related.

In the new charges, Taylor alleges Michelle Eberhardt solicited another person sometime between Oct. 22 and Oct. 24 to kill her husband.

Spokesman Dakota Loomis said it is not known what association, if any, the individual had to Michelle Eberhardt or the other suspects.

Mosher has a history of violence, including a conviction in September for domestic battery, court records show.

Haase was sentenced in June to 90 days in jail for a domestic battery charge and was given credit for time served. He remained on probation.

Eberhardt, who owned Wizz By Auto Sales in northern Topeka, had his own criminal history. Court records indicate he had been involved in 15 incidents over the past 17 years, ranging from driving under the influence to domestic violence.

In 1998, Eberhardt pleaded no contest to domestic battery. The next year, a jury found him guilty of domestic battery and criminal restraint.