MINEOLA, New York – Her husband has been arrested, accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill her for insurance money — and specifying that it needed to be done before Christmas.
But Tina Paul said she does not believe a word of it.
"I don't believe anything [authorities] say because I believe my husband," she told the New York Post newspaper after her husband, Santhosh Paul, was arraigned on a second-degree conspiracy charge. He was ordered held without bail.
"I feel they were setting him up," Tina Paul, 30, was quoted as saying in Thursday's editions. "I know him — he would never, ever do something like that. I would be alone with him right now. But he's definitely not in his right senses right now."
The couple's marriage was arranged in India six years ago.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Santhosh Paul, 31, made several attempts over the last month to hire someone to kill the mother of his young son right away.
"He wanted to be able to mourn her before the holidays," Rice said.
Rice said Paul tried to hire a friend to do the killing, but the friend refused and secretly called police, who arranged a meeting in a restaurant parking lot between Paul and an undercover detective posing as a hit man.
Paul took his 3-year-old son to the meeting, at which he said he wanted his wife dead "before the holidays" and promised the undercover detective $200,000, prosecutors said. He paid a $2,700 deposit and provided a copy of his wife's $1 million life insurance policy as proof he would be able to pay after she was dead, they said.
He also gave the detective a photo of his wife, a business card with her address, her license plate numbers and her schedule and told him to stab her through the heart, prosecutors said.
Paul's attorney, Peter Brill, said his client "maintains his innocence" and noted his wife's support.
"His wife stands behind him, which should tell you something," Brill said. "It doesn't tell you that she's an idiot, if that's what people are thinking. She doesn't believe this is possible."
Prosecutors, however, said Paul's wife found out about the details of the accusations against her husband after she showed up in court. They said she was so completely in the dark about his scheme that when he was arrested Tuesday and did not come home, she asked police to look for him.
Santhosh Paul could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Paul's mother, Gracey, said she had not seen any troubles in the marriage.