Tara Lambert, 33, a former fashion model, has been sentenced to 7 years in prison for plotting to kill her husband’s ex-wife, Kellie Cooke, according to CBS News. Lambert’s go-between for the hit man turned out to be an undercover officer. Lambert asked, “How much is a good amount?” She paid him a measly $125 as a down payment. She asked the undercover officer if the hit man had a preference on how he killed people.
“I want it to look like an accident, obviously, because of what I’ve gone through with her. I would be the first suspect, I’m sure,” Lambert said on undercover video.
Lambert supplied the undercover officer with a photo of Kellie Cooke, her address, described her vehicle and her daily habits. She suggested that the hit man use a wood chipper to get rid of the body. She was heard laughing on the video tape as she planned the murder. Lambert later testified she was just kidding.
“I know everything about her. I can even tell you what size her implants are. Maybe you can cut them out for me,” Lambert told the undercover officer.
Kellie Cooke is the ex-wife of Lambert’s husband and the mother of his two children. The conflict stems from ongoing custody issues and that Lambert felt that Cooke’s life was better than hers.
Lambert was arrested on July 28, 2015. Lambert’s attorney, James Kingsley, argued in court that his client was “mentally fragile,” calling her “childlike.” He also claimed she was baited by the undercover officer. A psychologist for the defense, Jolie Brams, testified that Tara Lambert was “developmentally challenged.” She also stated Lambert was suffering from body image issues, as she had more than two dozen plastic surgeries. Brams testified Lambert had substance abuse issues including overconsumption of alcohol and illegal prescription drug use. She also testified that Lambert had an unfortunate childhood and had even been raped.
In closing arguments, Kingsley reminded the jury that his client is giggling on the video, that she just doesn’t know any better, that “Life’s a fantasy to her.” He pointed to the defendant’s stilettos and asked the jury not to “judge her by her shoes,” causing some laughter in the gallery. He asserted again that it was inappropriate attire but that she “doesn’t know what’s appropriate for the situation. “
When the case was turned over to the jury, it only took them 45 minutes to find Tara Lambert guilty of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder. Shawn Cooke could have been collateral damage. Though he was not an intended victim, Lambert made it clear that if he was home at the time of the incident, he should be killed, as well. The jury acquitted her of charges of conspiring to kill him, according to the New York Daily News. Lambert showed little emotion when the jury forewoman read the verdict. She stood stoically while her family sobbed behind her. Judge P. Randall Knece ordered her to be held without bond until the sentencing. As she was ushered away to jail, she wanted to know what the officer was going to do with her purse.
The sentencing occurred February 17 in Circleville, Ohio. The judge denied the convicted Lambert’s request to be able to wear her own clothing and makeup for the sentencing. She appeared in orange jail attire and rubber shoes looking disheveled, a stark contrast from the model’s former well-dressed and accessorized appearance. She was sentenced to seven years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The sentencing phase took just 30 minutes. Prosecutors said they weren’t surprised by the acquittal charges regarding Shawn Cooke, as it seemed more “spur of the moment.”
Kellie Cooke said her daughters had not seen their father, Brandon Lambert, since the incident. She described them as “scared and confused.” Cooke said her family will never be the same and described Tara Lambert as “a demon.”
[Image via Jody Field/Twitter]