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Lawyer to ask for lower bail for health reasons in wife's hit man case

Susan Williams, of Garden City, is accused of

Susan Williams, of Garden City, is accused of attempting to hire a hit man to kill her husband. (March 5, 2010) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A lawyer for a Garden City mother accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill her estranged husband will argue in court Thursday that her bail should be lowered, in part because she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2008 and needs to see doctors regularly.

According to court papers, Susan Williams, 43, had a radical hysterectomy in 2008 after being diagnosed with the disease.

"Obviously, her incarceration renders her unable to see her doctors during this critical period after cancer surgery," Williams' lawyer, John Carman, of Garden City, said in court papers.

State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Calabrese earlier this month denied Carman's request to lower Williams' bail, holding it at $1 million bond or $500,000 cash.

In an rare move, Carman is expected to ask an appellate court in Brooklyn to reconsider that ruling.

Carman will request that bail be reduced to $500,000 bond, according to court papers.

A spokesman for Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said that "given the nature of the charges and the risk of flight" prosecutors will oppose any bail reduction.

According to prosecutors, Williams, 43, the mother of four children ages 11 to 19, last month asked an acquaintance to refer her to a hit man to kill her husband, Peter, amid an ugly divorce battle.

Instead, the acquaintance put her in touch with an undercover police officer, who videotaped Williams as she paid him a $500 deposit on the $20,000 job, prosecutors said.

At a March 10 bail hearing, Carman argued that Williams' ties to her family and the community would prevent her from fleeing if she were released from jail. He said Williams' parents, who live in Baldwin, are prepared to use their home as collateral to post her bond.

But prosecutor Jane Zwirn-Turkin said Williams' actions in trying to arrange her husband's murder were calculated and chilling, and that her current bail is appropriate.

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