NOBLESVILLE — A suburban Indianapolis man in the midst of a divorce and facing mounting debts allegedly offered a co-worker $15,000 to kill his estranged wife, telling him "I'm free" once she's dead, prosecutors allege.
Stephen Perry, 27, of Carmel was charged Dec. 31 with conspiracy to commit murder and is being held on a $250,000 bond at the Hamilton County Jail in Noblesville. He has a March 12 pretrial hearing and his trial is scheduled to start in June.
Prosecutors allege that Perry approached one of his co-workers at an oil-change business and asked him if he knew someone who could kill his wife, Allison Mayer. That man told officers he initially thought Perry was joking.
But on Dec. 8, the co-worker recorded two conversations with Perry on a cellphone in which Perry allegedly offered him $15,000 and a machine to print counterfeit money if he would kill his wife or arrange her murder.
"I just want this to be over and done with. So if she dies, I can drop the divorce lawsuit. She's dead and I'm free," Perry said, according to a recording described in the probable cause affidavit.
The co-worker gave Perry's wife the recordings and she turned them over to police, who arrested Perry in late December.
A message seeking comment was left Thursday for Perry's attorney, Jason Jackson of Noblesville.
Mayer told officers that she and Perry were going through a divorce and were $200,000 in debt, mostly due to her living expenses and college tuition. She said she and Perry had been married since December 2009, but that he moved out in March 2012 and filed for divorce about two months later.
Prosecutors say the couple's divorce was complicated by a dispute over an inheritance left by Perry's mother, who died in October 2011.
In addition, Perry's wife told police that he believed she owed him $15,000 and had told people she had stolen it from him.
According to the affidavit, Perry had provided his co-worker with a paper with his estranged wife's name and address and explained that his wife was living with her grandparents. He offered to draw the man a map of the grandparents' home, saying he only wanted his wife slain and not her grandparents.
He was also recorded telling the man he wanted to make sure the family dog was not injured, according to the affidavit.
"You hurt my dog, the deal's off," Perry allegedly said.