A Utah woman is accused of hiring a contractor to kill her ex-husband — but her attorney claims at trial the hired hand exploited her

| courtesy of Unified Police Department Linda Gillman

The attorney for a Herriman woman accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband and his new wife stood before a 3rd District jury on Tuesday and pleaded with them to pay close attention. The case isn’t as simple as they were led to believe, she said.

Sure, Linda Tracy Gillman was recorded on a wire planning the murders. And yes, she was the beneficiary of life insurance policies taken out on her ex-husband, which were worth millions.

But the case is complex, defense attorney Julie George said. Gillman, 70, was an old lady taken advantage of by a contractor who was bilking her.

Prosecutors painted a different picture: Gillman is vindictive and ”groomed” the contractor before implicating him in the planned killings.

Opening statements in Gillman’s trial started Tuesday afternoon. Gillman is charged with two counts of first-degree felony criminal solicitation for allegedly asking Christian Olsen, who was working on her condominium, to help her find a hitman to take out her former husband and his new wife.

While Gillman and her ex-husband were married, the two decided to take out a life insurance policy. Her husband, a smoker who had diabetes, was the earner in the relationship, George said in court.

But they divorced. Gillman used alimony payments to start a business and she owned a nice home and a condo, George said.

She also continued to make payments on the life insurance policies, according to prosecutors, which kept rising. By September 2016, the payments were $9,900 per month, and were about to go up again.

So when Gillman reached out to Hired Gun Home Improvement and began working with Olsen, she inquired about the range of his services, prosecutors allege.

Gillman referenced the name of Olsen’s company and asked if he was a hitman, Olsen testified. It was a joke he heard often from clients.

Olsen thought nothing of it. But as time went on, prosecutors allege, her ex remained alive and Gillman kept paying out on the two life insurance policies, worth a combined $4 million, according to charging documents.

Olsen testified Tuesday that Gillman told him about bad times in her marriage. She said her former husband laced her food and toothpaste with cyanide in an attempt to poison her, he testified. And in October 2016, Gillman once again broached the subject of a hitman.

This time, Olsen said, he realized it wasn’t a joke.

Gillman gave Olsen $5,000 and told him to find a hitman, using the money as a down payment. Instead, prosecutors say, Olsen spent the money on himself and his children.

When Gillman would ask about progress, Olsen would say the hitman was working on casing the ex-husband’s home. After a few months, she became impatient, according to the prosecution, and in December 2016, she told Olsen she found someone else to do the job.

Worried that a murder might take place, Olsen claims he went to the ex-husband’s home and informed him and his new wife of the plan. The three went to police.

After getting the police involved, Olsen spoke with Gillman several more times while wearing a recording device. In those conversations, Gillman allegedly offered up an additional $10,000 to have her former husband’s new wife killed as well.

But George told the jury Tuesday to pay attention not just to the evidence, such as the audio recordings and Olsen’s testimony, but also to what won’t be said by prosecutors.

She said Olsen, originally hired to do work on a vanity, proposed a plethora of additional work, including a remodeling of her condo. While working on it, he moved in. He conned her into giving him a truck, George said.

Pay careful attention, George told the jury in her brief opening statement: Gillman wasn’t the only one who stood to gain from her ex-husband’s death.