Pediatrician with ‘fun Disney theme’ office charged with hiring undercover FBI agent to kill husband

Federal authorities have charged a Kentucky pediatrician who reportedly practices in a Disney-themed office with allegedly hiring a hitman to kill her former husband.

The ex-couple are reportedly in the midst of an ongoing child custody battle, and this is allegedly not the first time that she tried to orchestrate a murder for hire.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky announced that the physician was arrested on May 19, a few days after allegedly striking a deal with an FBI undercover agent posing as a hitman and giving the operative a down payment.

“According to court records, on May 15, 2022, Stephanie Russell, 52, contacted someone she believed she was hiring to murder her ex-husband. The individual she contacted to murder her ex-husband was an FBI Undercover Employee (UCE). Russell ultimately agreed to pay $7,000 to the UCE in exchange for murdering her ex-husband. On May 18, 2022, Russell placed $3,500 outside of her medical office in a drop box as half of the payment. She agreed to pay the other half once the murder took place.”

If convicted in court, Dr. Russell could face a maximum sentence of up to 10 years behind bars in a federal facility. Her initial court appearance occurred on Friday, and she is due back in court on Tuesday.

The Louisville resident stands accused using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder for hire.

“In 2020, a judge ruled Russell should lose custody of her children after a Guardian Ad Litem, or a person chosen by a judge to represent children in court, accused Russell of ‘coaching’ her children, causing ’emotional harm’ and attempting to hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband in May 2018,” NBC Louisville affiliate WAVE reported.

“Russell’s attorney denied the allegation and called it ‘preposterous’ in a lawsuit filed against the judge, who ruled the pediatrician’s ex-husband should have temporary full custody of the two children,” the news outlet added.

Dr. Russell is affiliated with KidzLife Pediatrics.

The website of the medical office, which is located in the upscale Norton Commons neighborhood in the Louisville-area city of Prospect, indicates that it has “Fun Disney theme throughout,” which includes a “Live ‘Finding Nemo’ fish tank.”

The office was closed on Friday.

“Russell’s online reviews were generally favorable until trolls heard about the murder charge Friday, the New York Post claimed. “Her willingness to go the extra mile to eliminate a problem is her trademark,” one person wrote. “You might say she’s killing it.”

The doctor is reportedly in custody in the Oldham County, Ky., Detention Center. An investigation by federal and local law enforcement is continuing.

Watch a report aired by ABC Louisville affiliate WHAS11:

All suspects are presumed innocent until or unless they are convicted in a court of law of any alleged crimes.

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