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'It's freaky': Louisville pediatrician arrested for trying to hire hitman to kill ex-husband

Stephanie Russell allegedly agreed to pay a hitman, who was actually an undercover FBI agent, $7,000 in exchange for murdering her ex-husband.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Louisville pediatrician accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband appeared in federal court Friday. 

According to court records, Stephanie Russell believed she hired someone Sunday to murder her ex-husband. The person Russell had hired was actually an undercover FBI employee. 

Russell, a doctor in Prospect's affluent Norton Commons neighborhood, works at KidzLife Pediatrics.

Russell allegedly agreed to pay the person working undercover $7,000 in exchange for murdering her ex-husband.

Wednesday, Russell allegedly put $3,500 in a dropbox outside of her medical office in Norton Commons. Court filings say Russell agreed to pay the other half once the job was done. 

Lance Dooley, who lives in Norton Commons, has two daughters who've been cared for by Russell since they were born. 

"She's been their primary care provider for six years, so it's freaky," Dooley said.

Dooley was trying to pick up his kids' medical records because they found a new pediatrician after hearing about Russell's arrest. 

"Money drop-offs were happening right around the corner," he said. "That freaks us out. It's one of those things you don't expect."

Dooley wasn't able to get the records Friday. He tried calling the office several times, but never got a callback. When he went to the office in person, the doors were locked and a handwritten closed sign was posted on the door. 

Nancy Newman, who lives above the practice, said she never would have guessed something like this would happen.

"It's shocking, to say the least, and it's very sad," Newman said. "Just because it's very nice when you see a reputable establishment that has been around for several years; one that you can actually recommend to other people. I have several friends that bring their children here."

Newman, who spoke to WHAS11 around 2 p.m. Friday, said the closed sign on the door wasn't there at 6 in the morning when she was walking her dog. 

Russell was arrested and charged with murder-for-hire on May 19. She appeared in federal court Friday morning and is scheduled for preliminary and detention hearings on May 24.

If convicted, Russell faces up to ten years in federal prison. There is no parole in the federal system. 

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