COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A husband and wife faced off in court in Columbus Friday.
Johnnie Melissa Burmeister, who goes by "Missy," pleaded not guilty during her preliminary hearing.
The 40-year-old North Georgia woman was arrested this week and is charged with Criminal Solicitation to Commit Murder.
On November 16, 2010, Columbus detectives say they were contacted by a "concerned citizen" who told them Burmeister was trying to find someone to kill her 45-year-old husband, Michael, who lives in Phenix City.
The couple, police say, has recently separated and they have two children together. Investigators say they have been in "constant conflict over money- over money that Mister Burmeister was or was not sending to her."
At first, the confidential "concerned citizen" thought Burmeister was just an angry wife but when communications about the alleged murder-for-hire continued, the informant notified authorities.
When detectives intercepted Facebook messages from Burmeister inquiring about someone to kill her husband, they say they had an undercover agent call her, posing to be a hit man.
The investigators testified that Burmeister told the hit man she didn't have a lot of money but when asked bluntly if she wanted her husband killed, she allegedly said yes.
Police say they arranged a meeting between Burmeister and the fake hit man in Columbus to set the dollar amount for the hit but she never showed up. Detectives told the judge she did text him her husband's address and the location of where he worked.
The hit man told Burmeister he wouldn't do the job without getting paid and that's when detectives say she "money-grammed" a payment to Columbus. Officers testified she agreed to pay $3000 for the murder, $500 being paid up front.
They say she told the hit man she didn't care how her husband was killed or where but allegedly suggested it be made to look like a "drug deal gone bad."
After wiring a payment, investigators say the undercover hit man called Burmeister one last time, asking if she still wanted to move forward. Police say she said yes. When the hit man alluded to blood being all over the car, police say Burmeister responded that it wouldn't be a problem.
All messages and conversations were recorded and documented, according to police testimony.
It's then that police issued a warrant for her arrest and she was taken into custody in Jasper, GA where she lives with family members.
When testifying, Columbus detectives also alluded to Burmeister contacting another possible hit man in Cherokee County. They would not elaborate after the hearing but told the judge the other possible hit man is an "individual in the federal system" who was "working with police." They say the alleged communications have potential to be a separate case against her, however, the target, her husband, was the same.
According to Columbus Police, Missy Burmeister (who also goes by Missy Deal) has not made any statements to them. Michael Burmeister looked down several times during the preliminary hearing but he had no comment for reporters coming out of court. Investigators say he had no idea about the alleged plot to end his life.
Since she allegedly wired the money to Columbus and all of the communications with undercover officers came out of Columbus, detectives say that's why she is charged here despite her living in North Georgia and her husband living in Phenix City.
Judge Michael Cielinski found probable cause in the case and bound it over to Muscogee County Superior Court. He set Missy Burmeister's bond at $250,000.