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Depew woman admits trying to hire hit man to kill her mother-in-law

A Depew woman has admitted offering her car mechanic $1,000 to kill her mother-in-law, whom she blamed for her failing three-year marriage.

Jean M. Rzeznik-Stanton, 29, of Transit Road, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Erie County Court to second-degree criminal solicitation for asking the Buffalo mechanic to get rid of her 54-year-old mother-in-law, according to Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III.

The mechanic refused the offer, then told authorities and agreed to refer Rzeznik-Stanton to a hit man – undercover Buffalo Detective Jason M. Mayhook. She informed the detective of her plan and showed him the intended victim’s house in the city.

She was arrested last month after meeting with the “hit man.”

The solicitation began in February, when Rzeznik-Stanton offered the mechanic, who is a family friend, $1,000 to kill Rosemary A. Stanton, according to police.

Rzeznik-Stanton was going through a divorce and feared that she would lose custody of her three children, a situation she blamed on her mother-in-law, according to Assistant District Attorney John P. Feroleto.

Police said the mechanic, whose name they withheld, was initially intrigued by Rzeznik-Stanton’s offer. But he got cold feet and told Rosemary Stanton of her daughter-in-law’s plan.

Rosemary Stanton went to police March 18 and gave a statement to a detective, who notified the Intelligence Unit.

Detectives interviewed the mechanic, and he agreed to make a recorded phone call to Rzeznik-Stanton and arrange to introduce her to someone else more willing to do the job – Detective Jason M. Mayhook, posing as the hit man.

The defendant and her mechanic met at Bailey Avenue and Clinton Street, where the defendant got in a car with Mayhook, while the mechanic remained in another car with her three children, prosecutors said. She told the “hit man” she wanted to get rid of her mother-in-law and showed him where she lived, prosecutors said.

Though she never agreed to hire the undercover detective, she was taken into custody, mainly due to concerns about the mother-in-law’s safety, prosecutors said. She admitted asking the mechanic to kill her mother-in-law, prosecutors said.

She faces up to seven years in prison when she is sentenced July 8. A licensed practical nurse, Rzeznik-Stanton has no previous criminal record and remained free on $15,000 bail.