A Jacksonville grandmother is in federal custody facing charges that she tried to hire a hit man, who was actually an FBI agent, to kill her daughter’s ex-husband to keep him from getting custody of her granddaughter.
Jeri Dianna Tarter, 69, made her initial appearance Monday by video conference from a jail before U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth Deere, who, after Tarter’s arrest, unsealed a criminal complaint that had been filed Thursday.
The complaint is supported by an FBI agent’s six-page affidavit that led Deere to issue an arrest warrant for Tarter, who lives at 1 Tara Mount Drive in Jacksonville.
A criminal complaint is used in federal court to hold defendants in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service until their case can be reviewed by a federal grand jury for possible indictment. The complaint charges Tarter with use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire.
According to the affidavit, on Oct. 5, Tarter used her cellphone to contact a man she had met 15 years earlier when he worked as a security guard at a club where her daughter was a bartender. Tarter asked to meet with the man, and on Oct. 7, met with him at a Chili’s restaurant in Little Rock.
There, according to the affidavit, Tarter informed the man that one of her daughters was engaged in a custody battle with her ex-husband, who lives in Lonoke County. The custody battle had become so fierce, Tarter told the man, that she and her daughter had been arrested in Arizona on accusations of kidnapping the girl, and were held for 36 days on a warrant from Lonoke County.
Grandmother jailed in kill-for-hire plot
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