Covering Autauga County: Judge Dismisses Murder for Hire Case; State Appeals, Says Woman Only Wanted Hit Later

A controversial decision from Autauga County Judge Ben Fuller is headed to the Appeals Court.

Fuller dismissed the case against a woman accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill her estranged husband, despite the fact agents had her talking about it on tape.

When the woman and her lawyer held a press conference today in front of the courthouse, we realized we knew her and her husband from an earlier story.

Despite the fact her home just lost part of its roof, the last time we saw Shana Cromwell was a much happier time for her family.

It was 2005, and she was married with two kids, and thankful they and her husband survived a hurricane generated tornado.

"I was just told there's a tornado in Autaugaville," she said in July 2005.  "I called my husband and asked, 'are you ok?' And he said 'yeah, we're fine, nothing going on here.'"

Back then, she was called Shana Flynn.

Three years later, wearing the same exact outfit, a much different feeling.

"It's torture," said the now Shana Cromwell.

Cromwell is free after Judge Ben Fuller threw out the charges against her, and accustation that on tape, she tried to hire an undercover ABI agent to kill her then-husband Mike Flynn.

She says she got the idea from a family member.

"It's the same relative who continually pressured and continually pushed Shana toward completing through with this solicitation to commit murder," said her lawyer, Jerry Blevins.

In his ruling, Fuller said when Cromwell told the undercover officer she was backing away from completing the deal, that absolved her from the crime.

District Attorney Randall Houston disagrees.

"Under alabama law, it has to be a complete renounciation which means I'm totally backing out, Im gettin' out of this. What Ms. Cromwell did is she wavered," he said.

Houston points out that on tape, Cromwell told the agent she might have her Uncle make the hit later on, a fact he'll tell the appeals court.

But until then Cromwell will remain free.

"I'm very grateful to Judge Fuller for looking at the laws and taking everything into deep consideration. In my mind, my mind's eye, he was very fair," she said Friday afternoon.

Intrestingly enough, Shana Cromwell's divorce case from Mike Flynn is the subject of an Alabama Supreme Court opinion that came out Friday afternoon.

It involves whether Cromwell might have to give a deposition,  during which she may have to talk about the criminal charges.