Woman Pleads Guilty in ‘Murder-for-Hire’ Plot

  • Monique Earle listens to her attorney Lauren Breda in Sullivan Superior Court in Newport, N.H., on June 14, 2017. The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to two felony charges in connection with a murder-for-hire plot and will spend two years in prison. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Newport — A young mother will spend the next two years in prison after she attempted to hire a hit man to murder another woman last fall.

Monique Earle pleaded guilty on Wednesday in Sullivan Superior Court to two felony charges in connection with the November incident, where she offered to give an undercover officer $500 and a designer handbag in exchange for having her then ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed. Earle, who was staying in a Sullivan County shelter, told police at the time that Amber Florence, the intended victim, had “ruined her life.”

On Wednesday, the 20-year-old mother of two expressed remorse for her actions.

“I am very sorry for what I have done. It was out of line for myself,” Earle said as she wept from the defense table. “I should have never let people get in my head.”

She begged for forgiveness from several people, including her youngest child, who was born last month, and her 14-month-old son. Both children are in foster care.

“I had no one for support. I had no way to cope with my emotions,” Earle said. “I will never stop feeling horrible for what I did.”

The murder-for-hire plot was never carried out; it was foiled when a fellow resident of the Sullivan County shelter where Earle was staying went to police.

Undercover officers conducted several interviews with Earle to make sure the plot was something she wanted to follow through with, and each time she assured them it was, according to police.

Earle wrote down what she hoped to have done to Florence, something her public defender Lauren Breda on Wednesday said was more like a “diary entry.”

Breda called the murder-for-hire plot “completely out of reach.”

She said Earle has a history of abuse and neglect from her family, has been involved in abusive relationships and has mental health issues.

“At the time when the offense did occur, she was in one of the darkest places of her life,” Breda told Judge Brian Tucker.

The father of her children had left her in a tent behind a Walmart, prompting her to move into the shelter. Her child had been taken from her and she was pregnant at the time.

“The offense that was committed here was committed out of that dark place and started as a fantasy ... and that then spiraled out of control,” Breda said.

Both Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway, who prosecuted the case, and Breda said Florence was unlikely to be harmed.

“It was a dangerous plot and she was serious, but it never reached a level where it was seriously likely to happen,” Hathaway said.

Despite that, he said, Earle’s actions called for some level of punishment. He referred to Earle as an “immature and confused young woman,” but said the structure of her sentence will allow her a chance to move on with her life.

Earle pleaded guilty to amended charges of criminal solicitation to commit first-degree assault and conspiracy to commit first-degree assault.

She received a suspended five- to 15-year sentence on the solicitation charge, and a two- to seven-year prison sentence on the conspiracy charge. She will remain supervised for 10 years upon her release.

Hathaway suggested a two- to 10-year sentence on the conspiracy charge, but Tucker reduced the maximum to seven years.

Tucker said he felt the state prison sentence was appropriate given that Earle “seemed hell-bent on having Ms. Florence harmed, if not killed.”

Earle, who has 97 days of pretrial credit, will serve her time at the state women’s prison in Goffstown, N.H.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.