Right now, a Manatee County mother is sitting behind bars accused in a murder-for-hire plot.
Investigators say Rachael Leahy was willing to pay $5,000 to kill her ex-husband.
Leahy, 34, is locked up in the Manatee County Jail charged with solicitation of murder. Investigators say word got out that Leahy wanted her ex -- 59-year-old David Leahy -- dead. The problem is when she tried to hire a hitman, it turned out to be an undercover detective.
“She was divorced. I remember they went to court,” says Rachael Leahy’s former neighbor, Gary Holloway.
Holloway says he never suspected Leahy would want to turn to murder to fix a contentious child custody battle with her ex-husband. “I never thought she was on the verge of killing her husband,” says Holloway.
Manatee County Sheriff's investigators say in an undercover sting, Rachael hired a detective to kill David, putting down half of the $5,000 fee for the alleged hit. She claimed she wanted him dead, so she could have custody of their kids.
“I think it's crazy,” says neighbor Lada Cida.
“It's scary,” says neighbor Rastio Cida.
Leahy tells 10News WTSP through the guard at his gated subdivision that he’s not yet ready to talk about the hit.
“He said no,” the guard tells 10News.
Sarasota County court records reveal David Leahy filed for divorce in September 2011. Three months later, Rachael Leahy filed a domestic violence injunction against him; which appears he later violated.
He was arrested for battery in 2012, and sued her and a moving company in Manatee County.
Over the past five years, and as recently as two weeks ago, the feuding exs have been in and out of family court in a bitter battle over the kids.
“I'm shocked. I'm not a fighter, so it's hard to even think like that,” says Lada Cida.
Neighbors say no matter the anger, a murder-for-hire plot is not the answer.
“A lot of people are divorced, have children, and they don't go around trying to kill their mate,” says Holloway.
Leahy's expected to go before a judge Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. Right now, she's being held without bond.
(© 2016 WTSP)