Wednesday, January 10, 2001

Wife charged in plan to kill man

FBI agent posed as a hit man

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — A 39-year-old Gallatin County woman was arrested Tuesday, accused of hiring someone to kill her rich, older husband six months into their marriage.

        FBI agents charged that Elizabeth Furnish paid $500 — a down payment for a $4,500 job to fatally shoot her husband, “Shot” Furnish of Sparta — to an undercover agent posing as a hit man.

        Mr. Furnish is worth more than $1 million, and his wife had become concerned about whether she would inherit any money because she thought she wasn't named in his will, the agents said.

        Mrs. Furnish, now at the Kenton County Jail, was arrested at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday at her Sparta home while showing an undercover agent how he should enter a side door when arriving to shoot her husband, the FBI said.

        At Tuesday's initial appearance in U.S. District Court, Mrs. Furnish was charged with interstate commerce with the intent to commit murder. She faces up to 10 years in prison if she is convicted of the crime.

        According to the criminal complaint filed in federal court, the Furnishes married on Aug. 9, and Mrs. Furnish and her two young children moved into Mr. Furnish's home. Mrs. Furnish became friends with a person who ultimately informed the FBI about Mrs. Furnish's alleged plans.

        On Oct. 27, Kentucky State Police responded to a domestic dispute in the home, according to the federal complaint. The complaint did not detail the dispute and officials could not be reached about the matter. Kentucky State Police have have no record of the visit.

        Soon after, a state social services agency made a preliminary ruling that the children should not be living in the Furnish home.

        Mrs. Furnish and her children moved into the home of the future informant. The children stayed with the informant when Mrs. Furnish returned to her husband's home.

        In the following months, Mrs. Furnish told the informant that she wanted to get rid of her husband, according to the complaint.

        She told this person that she knew of people in the Boston area who could make her husband's death seem accidental, the complaint said. She said that she and Mr. Furnish would travel to the Virgin Islands, where her Boston contacts would travel to kill Mr. Furnish.

        The Furnishes were to leave for the Virgin Islands on Friday. But, last weekend the friend contacted the FBI to tell them of Mrs. Furnish's plans. The informant then recorded a telephone call with Mrs. Furnish, in which the informant told Mrs. Furnish of “an old friend who could help out,” according to the complaint.

        Mrs. Furnish expressed interest and, on Monday, the two traveled to Vevay, Ind., where they rented a room at Belterra Resort & Casino.

        That night, they met the undercover agent posing as a hit man. Mrs. Furnish told him that she wanted Mr. Furnish to be shot in an apparent burglary of their home, according to the complaint. She wanted the hit man to shoot her in the arm.

        She told him that Mr. Furnish's brother might be there, too, and, if so, he would have to be killed as well, the complaint alleges.

        The FBI said Mrs. Furnish gave the “hit man” $500, and they agreed that Mrs. Furnish would give him $2,000 the next morning, and she would leave $2,000 on a desk in the house when the job was completed.

        She told him to pick her up at the hotel Tuesday morning so that she could show him the Furnish home. After Mrs. Furnish showed her home and a side entrance, she was arrested by FBI agents.

        Mr. Furnish could not be reached for comment.


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- Wife charged in plan to kill man
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