DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Murder-for-hire suspect Wendy Farley of Brownville offered a friend nicknamed “Mafia Mike” $3,000 to $10,000 to find someone to kill her husband in a sham hunting accident to escape what she called her religious husband’s strictness, according to a police affidavit released Thursday in Piscataquis County Superior Court.
The man she approached, Michael Anderson of Milo, secretly recorded at police suggestion Farley saying she wanted her husband, Luther “Rusty” Farley, shot dead with a typical .30-30 hunting rifle — “nothing fancy, nothing stupid, nothing traceable” — and that she wanted the deed done by the end of the month, according to the affidavit.
“A straight hit, that’s what I want,” Farley, 46, is recorded telling Anderson, according to the affidavit. “One shot — drop him.”
When Anderson asked Farley why she wanted her husband dead, she allegedly replied that while her husband had never been physically abusive to her or their 13 children, some of the adult children had moved out of their New Morning Farm on Russell Road to escape his strictness and complaining.
She had also been with other men, according to the affidavit, and had used the Internet to research poisoning him and hiring a hit man. At times her demeanor on the tapes seems jovial, the affidavit stated.
“He’s out, he’s gone, I’m free,” Farley is quoted as saying. “Kids can grow up unafraid to be kids.”
District Court Judge Kevin Stitham ordered Farley held on $10,000 cash bail during her initial court appearance Thursday. He rejected Piscataquis County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy’s request for $75,000 bail and no contact with her children.
Stitham ordered that she have no contact with Anderson, her husband, their farm or belongings. He allowed Farley contact with her underage children under the supervision of Farley’s friend Merry Burton of Milo. Unsupervised contact is allowed with her adult children.
Burton, like the Farley family’s neighbors on Wednesday, expressed shock at the allegations. She described Wendy Farley as bright, happy-go-lucky, ebullient and a guitar player. They met at a local restaurant’s open-mic night and became friends, Burton said outside the courthouse.
“Wendy is a friend of mine. My daughter plays with her kids. I would never have guessed that would have ever happened,” Burton said of the arrest. “I saw Wendy every Wednesday night at open mic. We would play and sing. We had the music connection going on there.”
“She was home schooling her kids. She is a very good mom and is one of the hardest workers I know. I only have good to say about her. I can’t imagine any of this happening,” Burton added. “There’s got to be more to the story.”
Farley never discussed her husband or their relationship with Burton, Burton said. Burton visited Farley at the farm months ago to show her a violin. Luther Farley wasn’t there at the time, she said. Besides helping grow vegetables on the family farm, Wendy Farley would make jellies and jams and had a big garden.
“She really over the years always put everything into everybody else. She finally stopped having babies and started losing weight,” Burton said, “sort of like a flower emerging.”
“She has been like a brood mare for 30 years,” Burton added. “It is about time she was doing something for herself.”
Luther Farley did not attend court Thursday, but expressed anguish at the news of his wife’s threats and infidelity when she was arrested on Sept. 11 at their farm, according to the affidavit. He staggered when he was told, and a police officer put his hand on Farley’s shoulder to steady him, the affidavit said.
At one point he said he wanted to see his wife to forgive her, explaining that while he had never hit or hurt her, he moved out temporarily about a month ago following an argument, the affidavit stated. They seemed over the dispute, Luther Farley said, as his wife joined him in nightly prayers and was affectionate.
Farley told police repeatedly that “he could think of no reason why his wife had tried to have him killed” except that “he was very particular about the order and cleanliness of the house and stated that about once a year he would get very angry because it would eat at him that she was so messy,” the affidavit states.
Wendy Farley said she found her husband demeaning.
“If you could imagine for 29 years being told you were not good enough. … I finally snapped,” she told police, according to the affidavit.
Farley admitted to considerable stress in her life caring for her son, who is recovering from a brain injury suffered in a car accident. She speculated that she and her husband suffered mental illnesses but that a doctor’s examination had found Luther Farley to be healthy.
Yet her demeanor during her taped interview with investigators wasn’t that of someone who snapped, police said. During the lengthy police interrogation, her biggest concern, police said, was what evidence they had on her.
“The whole time I was dealing with Wendy or observing her during all the processes I noticed that she never became emotional,” Brownville Police Chief Nick Clukey wrote in the affidavit. “I never saw her cry or start to cry. She was always stoic and more or less impressionless. She was also very cooperative and polite.”
When police arrested Farley at her home Tuesday, they found $1,000 in cash that she had been carrying with her, the affidavit said. Police also found $2,360 in a safe box in the couple’s bedroom, it said.
Farley had not made the $10,000 bail as of late Thursday. During the court appearance, Almy expressed concern that she was a flight risk.