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Closing statements expected Thursday in Soderberg trial

SPOKANE, Wash. - UPDATE: The jury has found Martie Soderberg guilty. Soderberg will be held in jail without bond until her sentencing, which is scheduled for May 11.

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After two trial days, the jury has heard all the testimony it will in the case against Martie Soderberg, accused of conspiring to kill her husband in 2016. 

On Tuesday, jurors heard testimony from Martin Drake, an old friend of Soderberg's. He called police after, he said, she asked him to kill her husband. She allegedly told him she wanted out of an “abusive” relationship and she could claim her husband's recently opened $300,000 life insurance policy. 

The jurors also heard from the detectives who worked with Drake, placing a wire on him to record conversations and organizing a controlled buy- setting up an opportunity for Soderberg to give Drake money for a weapon to carry out the alleged plan. 

Prosecutors say she did give him the money- the two discuss it in one of the audio recordings and police say he went into her car with no money and came out with $50. 

Soderberg's defense attorney says it's unclear exactly how the transfer of money happened. 

On Wednesday, jurors heard from a second police detective and a second friend of Soderberg's who told the court that she approached him about the plot as well. 

Dennis Bjerke said in court that he's known Soderberg for over a decade. In the summer of 2016, Bjerke said she explained that she wanted to leave her 15-year marriage.

“She just approached me and said that she didn't want to be with him anymore and asked if we'd do something about it, do something with him,” he said. 

The day before, Martin Drake testified that Soderberg discussed shooting her husband, either at work or on Halloween as they were trick-or treating. He also said that she offered to build a life with him after. 

Many of the details Bjerke mentioned in his testimony Wednesday aligned, almost exactly, with Drake's- from the discussion of obtaining a firearm, to a shooting possibly taking place on Halloween. 

Russell Soderberg took the stand, briefly, on Wednesday to say that he and Martie Soderberg are still legally married and that he had been made aware, by police, of a plot to end his life back in 2016. 

The State rested its case after his testimony. The defense called only one witness- Martie Soderberg herself. 

She was emotional on the stand and throughout the trial. She told the court that she loved her husband during the time period in question, and that she still does. 

When asked if her intent was to have Dennis Bjerke or Martin Drake murder her husband, her answer was 'no'. 
She did confirm that the female voice in the recordings from the wire worn by Martin Drake was her own. The jury heard selections of that audio on Tuesday.  


 


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