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BOSNIAN REFUGEE FACES CHARGES IN PLOT <br> TO HIRE HIT MAN TO KILL HER HUSBAND

Though her English is poor, a Bosnian refugee was explicit Friday in telling an undercover police officer posing as a hit man to "kill" her husband, investigators from the Erie County Sheriff's Department said.

Merima Hrnkas, who is 25, recently moved from Michigan to North Collins to join her husband, Spomenko, who works at a game farm. The couple has a 6-year-old daughter, investigators said.

The woman wanted her husband killed so that she could return to Michigan to be with her lover -- the father of the baby she is carrying, investigators said.

Now, Michigan authorities will prosecute her and her lover on charges of conspiracy and solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

Hrnkas is in custody in the Erie County Holding Center as authorities search for an interpreter before proceeding with the case. The man described as her lover, Timothy Ross, was arraigned Friday afternoon in a Mount Clemens County, Mich., courtroom.

Lt. Thomas Flaherty of the Sheriff's Department said his agency was contacted Thursday as Michigan authorities sought evidence of the alleged plan.

The Hrnkases were living in Detroit before Spomenko moved to North Collins a couple of months ago under the auspices of a church. The Hrnkases and Ross reportedly had worked together in Michigan.

Spomenko Hrnkas and Ross also are in their mid-20s, investigators said.

Merima Hrnkas allegedly asked Ross to hire a hit man to kill her husband. However, the man he found last week was an undercover officer for the Mount Clemens Sheriff's Department, authorities said.

Ross spilled the beans on Merima's plan, but authorities needed corroborating evidence. Thwarted by the limited access the Hrnkases have to a telephone, the FBI acted as the go-between for the two Sheriff's Departments.

The undercover deputy from Michigan came to Buffalo Friday to meet with Merima Hrnkas about the planned "hit." The price was $1,000 and the hit was to have occurred Friday night, when Spomenko Hrnkas was working at his second job at an unidentified restaurant in the North Collins area.

The conversation between the woman and the undercover deputy was recorded, Flaherty said. Despite her broken English, she used the word "kill," the lieutenant said.

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