Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant said Tuesday that a former Pasco man will face a murder charge if he does not accept a plea offer for allegedly plotting to kill his mother-in-law.
Todd David Stuart, 48, briefly appeared in Superior Court while his lawyer, Karla Kane, and Sant discussed the ongoing investigation and lab tests. The results are due later this month.
Stuart currently is charged with attempted first-degree murder.
He is the estranged husband of Tashia L. Stuart, who has her own first-degree murder case for her mother's March 3, 2011, death.
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Judy Hebert, 58, was fatally shot inside her Pasco home. Her daughter has claimed she acted in self-defense, saying Hebert first came at her with an ax.
Tashia Stuart's trial is set April 11, though her attorneys have told the court they will not be ready by that date.
The Stuarts and her 7-year-old daughter moved to the Tri-Cities to live with Hebert in January 2011.
The following month, Todd Stuart got Hebert to stand in the right spot in her garage so that an 18-gallon bin of books -- pushed by Tashia Stuart -- would fall on her, according to court documents. Hebert suffered a severe head injury and told neighbors and friends she feared her daughter and son-in-law were trying to kill her, documents said.
Todd Stuart's trial is April 25.
After Tuesday's hearing, Sant said he has told the defense that if he doesn't get a resolution for the earlier crime, he will add the first-degree murder charge for Hebert's death.
Stuart reportedly left the house three days before she was killed.
Sant told the Herald that even though he was not there, Stuart was in on the conspiracy and did not properly inform authorities of what was planned.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org