A former Hillsboro resident has been convicted of conspiracy to commit murder after trying to hire a hit man to kill his wife, who formerly worked at American Electric Power in Hillsboro.
Lowell W. Ludwick, a 1983 graduate of Hillsboro High School, is currently being held without bond in the Franklin County Jail awaiting sentencing scheduled for 9 a.m. March 22. He faces a maximum of 11 years in prison.
Ludwick’s wife of 19 years, Kathleen Ludwick, testified last week in Franklin County Common Pleas Court that her husband had chronic money problems and a gambling addiction. She said she was the primary bread winner due to a 22-year job with American Electric Power and that she sometimes used her annual bonus to cover her husband’s debts, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
The couple had no children and he was the sole beneficiary of her life insurance policy, a 410k account and a nearly $500,000 house in Madison County, according to the Dispatch.
An assistant prosecuting attorney told the jury during closing arguments that the entire case “was about greed,” the Dispatch reported.
Lowell Ludwick wanted to hire someone to kill his wife at their West Jefferson home and make it look like a burglary that turned bad. But his plan was what turned bad because an acquaintance he trusted to help him went to the police, the newspaper reported.
Wade Smith, who knew Lowell Ludwick because they both worked in the hearing and air-conditioning business, testified that Ludwick told him on March 7 in a Far North Side Starbucks that he needed someone “to get rid of his wife.” Smith told Ludwick that he would see if he could find someone, but instead Smith went to the police, according to the newspaper.
Ludwick was convicted largely based on audio from a hidden camera Smith was equipped with that recorded a conversation two days later at a Starbucks in Delaware County. The conversation took place mostly in Ludwick’s truck and centered primarily on whether Ludwick could come up with a $5,000 down payment Smith said was required to hire a hit man called “Crazy Joe,” the Dispatch reported.
“I could do it myself, or get a divorce,” Ludwick said in the recording.” But (in a divorce) I end up with half. Who the (expletive) wants half,” the Dispatch said.
The defense argued that no deal was ever struck because Ludwick and Smith never agreed on payment, according to the newspaper.
But the prosecution said that despite uncertainty about the down payment, there was plenty of planning with Ludwick describing his wife to Smith and telling him their address and when his wife would be home alone.