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Bail reduced for mom said to plan husband's hit

Susan Williams arrives at Nassau County Courthouse on

Susan Williams arrives at Nassau County Courthouse on Tuesday. Williams is accused of attempting to hire a hit man to kill her husband. (March 9, 2010) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Garden City mother accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill her estranged husband could be released from jail as early as Friday, after an appellate panel granted her defense lawyer's motion to reduce her bail.

Susan Williams' parents are expected to use their Franklin Square home as collateral to post the $500,000 bond, said her defense lawyer, John Carman of Garden City.

The four-judge panel granted Carman's appeal although prosecutors disclosed several new details about their case - including the allegation that in the months before her arrest, Williams did Google searches on at least two women who had evaded police after killing their ex-husbands.

"The family is very grateful to the Appellate Division for looking closely at the arguments that we raised," Carman said after the decision came in Thursday afternoon.

Williams, 43, was arrested March 4 at her home and pleaded not guilty the following day to charges of second-degree criminal solicitation and second-degree conspiracy. If convicted, she could face a maximum of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.

According to court papers filed by prosecutors, Williams searched the Web for "Fugitive Ex-wife in Tucson Killing Caught" and "Australian police arrest an American woman sought in connection with killing her ex-husband, who died when a bomb exploded in his car more than a decade ago," court papers say.

"She was calculating. She really thought this out," prosecutor Jane Zwirn-Turkin said of the mother of four.

Carman argued in court that Williams' bond with her four children and the community would keep her from fleeing.

Carman said that amid an "all-out war" over the end of her marriage, Williams may have taken too far a daydream about hurting her husband, Peter Williams, 46.

But he said she did not have the $20,000 required to pay the would-be hit man - who actually was an undercover police officer - and never would have gone through with it.

"The fantasy went beyond where it should have, but it was not something that would have come to fruition," Carman said after the hearing.

In his petition for lowering bail, Carman said another reason for his request was that Williams was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2008, which requires regular medical appointments she cannot make while in jail.

The prosecution's papers also included the assertion that Williams asked the would-be hit man to make her husband's death look like an accident, and the allegation that she fraudulently changed his life insurance policy shortly before her arrest.

Zwirn-Turkin also said there is evidence that Williams asked someone to enter her Nassau Boulevard home after her arrest last month and remove evidence. She said additional charges could result from the allegations about Williams' life insurance, as well as those about removing evidence.

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