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McDonough woman gets federal murder sentence

A 50-year-old woman who federal authorities said trafficked in firearms, and sought help in killing a man, has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and three years on probation after that.

Melissa Towana Wood was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas W. Thrash, after entering a guilty plea last month to dealing firearms without a license and soliciting a murder-for-hire.

“The evidence showed that Ms. Wood engaged in criminal conduct of the worst sort,” said Scott Sweetow, Special Agent in Charge from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (ATF). “With meticulous planning and full consideration of the consequences, Wood agreed to pay a ‘hit man’ to brutally kill for her own selfish reasons.”

Wood, of New York, was suspected of selling weapons to a Jamaican gang. Her sales involved an informant for ATF and Homeland Security Investigations and agents in Atlanta. She allegedly told the informant she had a problem that she needed help with. Agents, fearing the intended victim might be in danger, staged a murder, with the intended victim’s help. When pictures showed the victim as having been shot, Ms. Wood thanked the informant. In fact, no one was harmed, officials said.