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WOMAN PLEADS INNOCENT IN SLAYING OF HER HUSBAND

Annette Montstream, the 39-year-old Monroe County woman who allegedly arranged with a friend to kill her husband, pleaded innocent Friday to a charge of second-degree murder.

After entering her plea, she was returned to the Niagara County Jail, where she is being held without bail.

Niagara County Judge Charles J. Hannigan asked lawyers who appeared with Mrs. Montstream to file motions in the case within 30 days. One of the motions will be to permit Mrs. Montstream to post bail and to be released from jail, according to Ronald J. Winter, second assistant district attorney.

It is uncertain which lawyer or lawyers will represent Mrs. Montstream as the case continues, but all three attorneys who had been assigned to her without charge appeared with her during Friday's arraignment.

Because she has not been indicted on a charge of first-degree murder, Mrs. Montstream has lost the privilege of being represented free of charge by the Capital Offender's Office, Winter said.

Appearing with her Friday were Paul J. Cambria Jr., John Molloy and Barry Covert. They asked that the case be adjourned until Mrs. Montstream can decide who will represent her.

Mrs. Montstream was indicted Wednesday on a second-degree murder charge in the death of her husband, John F. Montstream, 37, of Clarkson in Monroe County. He was found dead June 30 in his minivan, parked on the third level of the Rainbow Centre Factory Outlet Mall parking ramp in Niagara Falls.

An autopsy determined he had been shot once in the back of the head with a .45-caliber handgun.

Mrs. Montstream reported her husband missing June 23, after he failed to return from a drive to a supermarket in Brockport, near the couple's home. She was arrested on July 8, after telling police she and another man agreed that he should kill Montstream. The couple had been married for 15 years and had two children.

The man she named in her statement to police has not been charged. Police are awaiting the results of forensic testing of evidence they have collected. Police said they believe the man volunteered to kill Montstream after Mrs. Montstream told him she had refused to pay a Rochester gang member $250 to kill him.

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