MUSKOGEE – The conviction of a former Hulbert woman was affirmed this week by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

U.S. Attorney Sheldon J. Sperling said the conviction and sentence of Katherine Meladie Robertson, 34, will remain place.

Robertson appealed her conviction for conspiracy to use an interstate commerce facility in the commission of a murder-for-hire. Following her conviction, Robertson was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by 24 months supervised release.

On appeal, Robertson argued that the district court improperly instructed the jury on an element of the offense, and “abused its discretion” in failing to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine whether a conversation between a state court deputy clerk and a juror was improper. The appellate court rejected both of contentions.

The Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed Robertson was convicted with Hugh Alan Means – her former employer, with whom she had an extramarital affair – to use an interstate commerce facility (in this case, a telephone) in the commission of a murder-for-hire. The object of the conspiracy was to hire a hit man to kill her husband.

Means pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 months in prison to be followed by 24 months of supervised release. The sentences must be served without parole.

Robertson had requested a new trial, based on allegedly improper juror contact. The appellate court affirmed the district court’s denial of a motion for new trial and request for an evidentiary hearing. The appellate court found no evidence the conversation between the state-court deputy clerk and a juror was about the case before the jury. The conversation had been initiated by the juror and was extremely short in duration.

“In addition, the appellate court found the evidence overwhelming as presented to the jury at trial concerning the agreement between Robertson and Means and the underlying intent that a murder be committed,” Sperling said. “The panel found if one enters into an agreement calling for the death of another in exchange for something of pecuniary value, then malice aforethought necessarily exists.”

The charges arose from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Phone calls and meetings were monitored between an undercover agent and Hugh Alan Means regarding finding a “professional” who could “make someone go away,” and make it look like an accident.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dennis A. Fries and Robert Gay Guthrie represented the U.S. at trial and on appeal.

Robertson and Means are in federal prison. Her projected release date is May 4, 2013, and his projected release date is Aug. 1, 2008.

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