From trying to hire a hitman to writing a book

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 4:50 PM EDT
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(WWNY) - Less than a decade ago, Melisa Schonfield of Dexter wanted her grandson’s father dead and his body thrown to alligators. Today, she talks about the desperate plea for help that left her locked up in state prison.

Schonfield spent 1,385 days behind bars after pleading guilty to second-degree attempted murder in 2015.

“I turned into something that I didn’t want to be and I don’t even know how I got there,” she said.

Schonfield says she was backed into a corner and felt like she had nowhere else to turn when she tried to hire a hitman to take out her daughter’s abusive ex-boyfriend, who is also the father of her grandson.

She met the supposed hitman, who was an undercover detective, in the Salmon Run Mall parking lot in 2014. Weeks later, she made a drop of $10,000 to the same man in the Walmart parking lot on Arsenal Street in the town of Watertown.

Schonfield was then pulled over and arrested in the nearby Ramada Inn parking lot.

“To show you the state of mind, I wasn’t the least bit nervous and I asked, ‘Why did you pull me over?’ And the female officer said, ‘We believe a crime was about to be committed,’” she said.

Schonfield was sentenced to 5 years in prison, serving a majority of the time at Taconic Correctional Facility downstate.

It’s there that she came to the realization of what she had done.

“I was being deprived of watching the little boy I tried to protect grow up and it broke me up on the inside that he thought I worked in a school and we told him this is where you go for an adult time out,” said Schonfield.

Schonfield says she wrote in her journal in prison almost daily. Many of those entries have been turned into her book “Bitter or Better.”

She says it was hard going back and re-reading the things she endured while behind bars. But even to this day, she is thankful that an undercover cop was the one in the car that day.

“Because what would have happened, who am I to take somebody’s life? Yes, no, I don’t get to do that,” she said.

Just recently, Schonfield says she found out she is no longer on parole and is looking forward to taking trips with her daughter and grandson to continue to catch up on the time she lost.

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