BUTLER, Mo. (AP) — Bates County authorities say a western Missouri woman wanted her ex-husband dead and asked for gruesome proof of the crime.

Thirty-two-year-old Joann R. Stepp of Rich Hill is charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder after trying to hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband and bring her his tongue.

The Kansas City Star reported Thursday that Stepp pleaded not guilty and is being held on $300,000 bond.

Court documents indicate that Stepp offered to pay a man $4,000 to commit the crime. The man was an undercover Bates County detective.

Stepp also allegedly asked the man to bring her pictures of the dead body so she could show her son that she had arranged the murder.

Online court records do not indicate if Stepp has an attorney.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


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