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Bond set for woman charged in murder-for-hire

December 21, 2009|By BRIDGET DiCOSMO

HAGERSTOWN -- A Washington County Circuit Court judge on Monday set a bond of $750,000 for Grace Marie Fink, a 67-year-old Hancock woman charged with conspiring to kill her son's former girlfriend.

Fink's attorney, Michael Gast, asked Circuit Judge Daniel P. Dwyer during a bond review hearing Monday afternoon that Fink be released on her own recognizance. She has been held at Washington County Detention Center without bond since her arrest Dec. 10.

Fink's son, Clarence Meyers, who also is indicted in the alleged murder-for-hire plot, is serving consecutive life sentences for setting a fire in February that caused the deaths of two adolescent girls. The girls' mother was the alleged target of the crime with which Fink and Meyers are charged.

At Monday's hearing, Gast argued that Fink has no criminal record aside from traffic convictions, suffers from a number of health ailments and does not pose a flight risk. Fink used a cane to walk into the courtroom Monday and had a hearing aid clipped to her ear.

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"She goes to church regularly, she tries to help out in her community, she's not a criminal, per se," Gast said.

Court records show that Fink was disabled and unemployed at the time of her arrest.

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion argued that given the seriousness of the charges against Fink and the close proximity of her residence to West Virginia, she should be considered a potential flight risk.

"Money changed hands to kill somebody, and we take this very, very seriously," Cirincion said.

Holding Fink without bond, given the nature of the charges, was an appropriate measure, Cirincion said.

Dwyer said while Fink had a right to have bond set, her financial constraints made setting a high bond the "practical equivalent" of setting no bond.

Fink had not posted bond as of 5 p.m. Monday and was still at Washington County Detention Center, a jail spokeswoman said.

Fink is charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, felony witness intimidation, obstruction of justice, solicitation to commit first-degree murder, solicitation to commit first-degree assault and solicitation to commit malicious destruction of property over $500.

Fink, of 6 W. Main St., Apt. 21, and Meyers, 39, were indicted by a Washington County grand jury.

Cirincion said the investigation began in July and involved unrecorded conversations that occurred in the Washington County Detention Center between Meyers and a confidential informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Court records allege Fink and Meyers conspired in September to kill Melissa Lindeman, Meyers' former girlfriend. Lindeman and her two daughters were sharing a house with Meyers when a fire broke out at the residence Feb. 16 and the girls were trapped inside. Nicole Gross, 15, and Mary Gross, 12, died in the fire.

Meyers is serving two consecutive life sentences after pleading guilty to two counts of felony murder for his role in their deaths.

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