Rhinelander woman sentenced to prison in ‘murder-for-hire’
By Eileen Persike
A Rhinelander woman was sentenced to two years in prison followed by six years of extended supervision for attempting to hire someone to kill her husband last year. Megan Danielczak, 28, pleaded no contest in February to a charge of solicitation of first degree intentional homicide. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered prior to Thursday’s sentencing.
Assistant district attorney Mary Sowinski argued that Danielczak deserved prison time for the “cold and calculated” steps she took to “arrange for the death of the father of her children.”
Sowinski conceded that Danielczak had no prior criminal record and has the support of family and friends who wrote letters to the court on her behalf, but “none of the letter writers were in the car when the defendant negotiated with a hit man” to have her husband killed, Sowinski said.
According to the criminal complaint, Danielczak met with a person in February 2018 she believed would kill her husband. The person she met with, a confidential informant who had worked with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office in the past, forwarded information from his conversations with Danielczak to local law enforcement. The informant indicated that Danielczak said she was “afraid she could not afford to live independently if she divorced her husband because he had a better job than she did and he would ‘take everything away from her.’”
She later met with a Department of Justice agent posing as a hit man to discuss payment and other details. The next day, detectives arrested Danielczak while she was at work.
In his statement to the court, Danielczak’s husband stated that when he learned of his wife’s attempt to have him killed, he “felt my life was meaningless.” As a husband, he said he tried to do his best and “would have done anything for (her),” adding that he hoped their children “will have forgiveness in their hearts” and that this won’t affect her relationship with them.
Defense attorney Jon Padgham told the court the only way he could “make any sense” of what his client did was to liken it to a person drowning in a swimming pool.
“That person is drowning, not rational, reaching, scraping, whatever is necessary,” Padgham said. “She was broken. At the end of her rope.”
He argued Danielczak’s life changed when she became pregnant, the couple married and moved out of state and she became isolated. Everyone, he said, “Had an inkling they weren’t happy, but no one knew how lonely, isolated and broken she had become.”
It was the confidential informant, he said, not Danielczak who initiated the conversations regarding hiring a hit man. “It was liked she was sucked into a bad movie,” he said, with all rationality “going out the window,” as evidenced by the “level of unsophistication and immaturity” demonstrated.
For her part, Danielczak apologized for the “hurt, pain, shame and embarrassment” she caused, adding that she accepts responsibility for her actions and hopes one day her husband will forgive her.
Before handing down the sentence, Judge Patrick O’Melia said it was “hard to reconcile” the “two different personalities” of Danielczak, saying that when it comes to the positives, she has many, citing “loving, caring mother, friend, coworker, confidant.”
However, O’Melia said, facts say she was “the director of the bad movie,” noting that Danielczak had many opportunities to back out of the deal, but did not.
“Was it unsophisticated? Hell, yes,” O’Melia said. “But thank God it was unsophisticated otherwise he’d be dead.”
The judge told the defendant she was “narcissistic,” so “focused on your own little life you were going to get rid of somebody else’s life. You could have stopped at any point.” Not once, he said, did she acknowledge the emotional or psychological harm she caused to her husband.
Danielczak poses “no threat to reoffend,” O’Melia said, but he is concerned about the criminal thinking and plotting it took for her to accomplish what she did. He wanted to “set an example,” he said, to deter anyone else from thinking they could attempt the same think with “nothing to lose.”
Danielczak will be serving her sentence at the Taycheedah Correctional Institution in Fond du Lac.
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