Solicitation of Murder for Hire Case Dismissed; Witness Says He Made it All Up

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Published on April 24 2014 3:13 pm
Last Updated on April 24 2014 7:03 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Fayette County case of Mark Fulk, charged with solicitation of murder for hire, has been dismissed after the key witness told authorities he made the whole thing up.

Fulk had been in Fayette County Jail in Vandalia for more than a year after his arrest in April 2013 for allegedly trying to hire someone to kill his wife.  The statement from John Shelton, who had told authorities he'd been contacted by Fulk, was obtained in a recorded conversation with a private investigator hired by the defense.  The conversation occurred last week.

Fayette County Assistant State's Attorney Amanda Ade-Harlow and defense attorney Lou Viverito of Effingham met regarding Shelton's new statement.  The outcome was a decision by the prosecution to dismiss the solicitation count.  Instead, a new charge of disorderly conduct was filed, charging that Fulk phoned Fayette County 911 that his wife was missing when he knew there was no reasonable grounds for making such a call.  At a stipulated bench trial on the disorderly conduct charge Tuesday, Judge Marc Kelly found Fulk guilty and placed him on 30 months' probation.  He must undergo a psychological evaluation at his expense and must undergo any treatment deemed appropriate.  He also is under a "no contact, stay away" order from his wife and former residence.

Ade-Harlow said of the result, "This is not the outcome I would have preferred, based on my belief regarding the solicitation charge."  As of the probation sentence in the disorderly conduct case, Ade-Harlow said the charge is a Class 4 felony, meaning a maximum of one to three years in prison.  As Fulk has already served 383 days in jail awaiting trial, she said any prison time was unlikely.  Ade-Harlow said she has remained in contact and worked with the Fulk family as the new developments unfolded, and regarding the possible outcomes.

For his part, Viverito said Shelton had been unable from the start of the case to specify when he was contacted by Fulk about committing the killing.  Asked whether justice has been served, Viverito said, "Sure. Everyone has done the right thing in this matter."  He said Shelton admitted making up the story, and the State's Attorney's Office did the right thing in dismissing the case.