SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. – Court documents released Thursday give more insight into the alleged murder-for-hire plot a 39-year-old Spokane Valley woman was arrested for on Monday.
Martie M. Soderberg was arrested for plotting to kill her husband, and is currently still in jail. The documents show Soderberg has been plotting the death of her husband for a year. They also detail how Soderberg sought out a friend from high school to help her carry out the plot. That friend, who in the timeline below is referred to as “John” (for John Doe,) went to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office to seek help.
With the assistance of detectives, John was able to share details of Soderberg’s plot that led to her arrest. The timeline below explains what happened, according to the released court docs.
John and Soderberg date “for about two weeks” during the summer when they are 16 or 17, court documents state.
Both John and Soderberg go separate ways, do not reconnect until September 2016 when Soderberg reaches out to John through Facebook Messenger.
John and Soderberg meet at a grocery store in Spokane briefly, and agree to meet again the next day.
John oversleeps meeting, reschedules with Soderberg for October 11.
John messages Soderberg telling her he is at a Jack in The Box on North Pines having breakfast. Soderberg arrives around 10:00 a.m. and picks up John. They drive to a gas station south of Sprague on Dishman-Mica and chat for a few minutes. John said Soderberg mentioned her husband worked on commercial store fronts but did not elaborate. Documents said later, Soderberg mentioned they should leave the area because her husband, who works nearby, may drive by and see them.
Soderberg and John go from the gas station on Dishman-Mica to the parking lot of a Walmart on East Broadway. Documents show the two had a two to three-hour conversation about the last quarter century of their lives. The conversation was dominated by Soderberg who spoke a lot about her previous marriage. Soderberg tells John that her first husband was abusive to the point where he assaulted her close to death on two occasions.
Soderberg then tells John she left that marriage and met her current husband, whom she has been married to for 15 years, documents said. Soderberg tells John that things were very good for the first year. After that, Soderberg told John the marriage became abusive, both verbally and physically. John told authorities that during this whole conversation, Soderberg was crying and based upon her reaction, he felt bad for her.
Soon, Soderberg told John she “was done” and wanted her husband gone. Documents state that Soderberg told John she wanted her husband dead. She also said she would get her husband’s $300,000 life insurance policy if he was dead. She said it would pay for her house, and her car. Soderberg told John she was financially dependent on her husband.
Court docs state Soderberg told John she had cheated on her current husband with another man within the past year and had made a similar proposal to him about killing her husband -- which that man agreed to do. Soderberg apparently did not like the way he planned to do it, documents state.
At this time, John said he realizes Soderberg is hoping he will take her up on her offer and kill her husband. He told authorities he felt scared and could tell Soderberg was serious based off the look in her eyes.
Soderberg told John of two potential plans to kill her husband.
- Plan One – Soderberg told John he could kill her husband on Halloween night while he was out trick-or-treating with their kids. Soderberg tells John she would walk to the door of a house and her husband would remain on the sidewalk where John would then kill him. Soderberg said this gave her the perfect alibi – she would be at the door with her kids and not able to shoot him. John told Soderberg she was crazy to have it done in front of so many other kids and people.
- Plan Two – Soderberg then told John of a second, “better” alternative. She told John how she would want her husband to be shot and killed while at work. That way, Soderberg said she would be able to collect L&I payments in the amount of $2,200 per month until her kids get through school. Soderberg also said she would get a lump sum of $300,000 from his life insurance.
John told authorities that while describing the plans, Soderberg was very casual and he could tell she put some thought into this. He asked Soderberg if there could be another way besides shooting him, and Soderberg said no. She told John her husband was a big guy and she needed to make sure he was dead. She also said she could not be the one to shoot him because she was tied to him, but did say she would shoot and kill the man she was cheating on her husband with to ensure there were no additional witnesses.
John, who is currently homeless according to court docs, was offered a place to stay by Soderberg until the murder was carried out. No living arrangements were made at this meeting.
Both John and Soderberg agreed to meet at the parking lot of Mission Park/Splash Down in Spokane Valley on October 12. John told Soderberg to not discuss the plan with anyone else and they would discuss more details at the next meeting.
John told authorities after this meeting he was feeling awful and told Soderberg he had to leave and went into the Walmart bathroom while Soderberg left. Documents show he spent several minutes inside the bathroom trying to figure out what to do. He then called authorities and met with a deputy in a Lowe’s parking lot next to the Walmart.
When asked what was in it for him, John told authorities nothing and that no one deserves to be killed, let alone in this manner by someone who is supposed to love them. John said Soderberg told him she wants him to be her “new man” a couple months after the murder and even discussed opening a thrift store with him.
John told authorities he had not lived a model life and felt helping save this man’s life may make up for some of the bad things he had done. John then consented to recording future conversations with Soderberg.
After being fitted with a wire, John met with Soderberg for their previously arranged meeting. John got in the car when Soderberg arrived and they drove to the Bank of America near Pines and Sprague where Soderberg withdrew $200. They then drove to the homes of two other individuals, spending in all just under three hours together. The entire interaction was recorded. Soderberg then dropped John off at the parking lot again and John then met up with authorities.
Some of the things discussed, and confirmed by authorities, between John and Soderberg were about the plan to kill her husband. She told John she had taken the insurance policy on her husband only two months prior. They spoke about making sure there was no fine print that would prevent a payout, and Soderberg agreed to bring a copy of the policy for both of them to review in a future visit.
Soderberg told John she was looking for someone she could trust to carry out the hit, and could not do it herself because spouses were the first people police look at. She also said she could not hire a hitman, because most hitmen are usually cops.
When the two talked about getting a gun, Soderberg suggested Craigslist. Both talked about making sure it could be traced, and Soderberg said she already had a place to store the gun in a small lock box buried in her room.
When John wanted to figure out an alibi, Soderberg said he needed to have a change of clothes he could dispose of and a way to discard the gun. Soderberg told John that she would provide a bag of concrete mix, a jug of water, and a bucket in the back of the car for after the hit. The process of mixing the concrete would eliminate a lot of the gun shot residue from John’s hands and then the mix and gun could be buried on the property Soderberg wishes to buy with John.
Soderberg said she was wanting to have this done within the next month or two. She suggested it be done in November when her husband was out of town on work, which would make her alibi stronger by not being anywhere near the scene.
Soderberg said she was smarter than most, and had thought this out and would not be caught. She cautioned John not to use their smart phones or even have them during future conversations about the murder.
Also mentioned in the recordings, Soderberg told John to not to worry about the other man finding out because she had information on him about a previous fire. Which fire she was referring to was not made clear. Soderberg also said it would be easy to poison the other man or choke him out, if she had to do something. She claimed she had that man in her back pocket because they had sex with each other.
Soderberg also said when her husband goes out of town, a rest area would be a good place for "something stupid" like this to happen. Discussion is had to possibly make it look like a robbery.
Soderberg said proper planning is essential, and will take at least two to four months to plan all the way. She said it would be best if she knew as little as possible.
In a candid moment, Soderberg told John that she did not have a conscience and would not feak out after John killed her husband. She also said she was evil and does not know where it came from. She said her husband deserves everything that is coming to him.
Soderberg was taken into custody on Monday and is facing charges of criminal conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree.