Grandma Paid 'Hit Man' $11,000 to Have Grandson's Father Thrown to Alligators

When we fear someone we love is in danger, a lot of us have fierce mama bear claws that appear out of nowhere. We will do anything to defend and care for those close to us. Well, maybe not anything -- and probably not what one grandmother from New York reportedly did when she paid an undercover detective who she thought was a hit man $11,000 to kill her grandson's father and feed him to alligators.

Melisa Schonfield, a 57-year-old social worker, reportedly met Jefferson County Sheriff's Det. Dave Pustizzi inside of her car in a Walmart parking lot, where she instructed him to kill Ernesto Negrillo, who shares a 2-year-old boy with Schonfield's 31-year-old daughter Alexis. When asked what he should do with the victim's body, her answer was reportedly simple and clear: "Throw it to the alligators."


Schonfield, who is out on $500,000 bail and has been charged with second-degree conspiracy and criminal solicitation, reportedly told Alexis that she hasn't done anything wrong. She said she was acting out of love because she believed Negrillo was verbally abusive to her and a threat to her grandson.

Alexis says her mom, who is married to a well-known and respected dentist in Brooklyn, is not a "monster" and that neither she nor the suspect's husband was aware of her murderous plans.

And it seems we can add one more person to the list of people who had no idea what was going on: Negrillo. The ex, who lives in Florida, says he hasn't spoken to Schonfield in a long time and that he and Alexis broke up in November 2012, when their son was just 4 months old. He also claims there is no custody dispute to speak of and no other issues between them.

Negrillo also denies claims that he is verbally and emotionally abuse toward Alexis and their child.

Whether Negrillo is or has been abusive is not really the point here. If Schonfield truly thought there was an issue and that her family was in danger, she could have called police -- though, I have to admit, I'm not sure they could have done much since he lives miles away from Alexis and their son. It sounds like she acted on her emotions and fears without relying on law enforcement. It's frightening to think what would have happened had she paid money to an actual hit man.

What do you think about what this woman did? Was she trying to protect her family or is she simply a criminal who deserves the maximum penalty?


Image via Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

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