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A Castle Rock woman was sentenced to nearly three years in prison Tuesday for trying to hire a hit man to kill her former boyfriend.

Maegan Nichole Ward, 34, entered an Alford plea, in which defendants maintain their innocence but admit that the prosecution’s evidence would likely result in a guilty verdict if brought to trial.

Both the defense and prosecution concurred on Ward’s sentence, which will be two years, 10 months. It still an exceptional sentence beyond the standard range. Had she been convicted of her original charge of solicitation to commit first-degree murder, she could have spent up to 20 years in prison, Cowlitz County Prosecutor Ryan Jurvakainen said.

According to court documents, police say Ward offered $2,500 to a convicted murderer to kill Kevin Hill, her former live-in boyfriend. Ward gave him $700 and offered to give him $1,800 more once he agreed to complete the killing, he told officers.

Castle Rock Police Sgt. Charlie Worley said the acquaintance was initially planning to go through with Ward’s plans, but he got cold feet and contacted police through his probation officer. After speaking with police, the man agreed to wear a wire to tape a conversation with Ward to go over the details of the killing. Ward planned to escort the hit man to their property in Castle Rock, police reports said, and introduce him as a plumber who needed to be escorted to the garage by Hill to work on the house’s plumbing.

The man told police that Ward’s plan was for him to wait for a train to go by and then strangle Hill, then shoot him in the mouth to make his death appear to be a suicide. Ward was going to smash her own head on a window to make it look like she was in a fight with Hill and that Hill got upset, went downstairs and shot himself.

When arrested in November, Ward told police that she only wanted to scare Hill away from “causing her issues” while she moved things out of their house.

She faced a standard sentencing range of one year and seven months to two years and one month in prison for her charges of second-degree solicitation to commit manslaughter (domestic violence) and criminal mischief (domestic violence).

Ward will also spend one year and six months on probation when she is released, and will be restrained from communicating with Hill until 2029.

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