Husband and wife are having terrible problems in their marriage. He’s abusive, she sleeps around, they fight, both drink too much, etc.
He decides to be rid of her, but he has money and can’t stand the idea of having to split it all with her in a divorce. So he hires a hitman – and unlike all these things seem to work out in real life, he actually manages to hire a real hitman (not some undercover cop) and the hitman is competent: he targets the right person and he has a practiced method that includes disposing of the body so there is no practical way it can ever be found.
So this goes off smoothly: the husband pays the upfront fee, the wife is seen to be abducted and never seen again, the husband pays the rest of the fee. All seems fine (from hubby’s POV): wife is gone, it only cost his some thousands vs. half of many millions. The police suspect his involvement, but of course he has an unbreakable alibi for the time she was kidnapped.
Unfortunately, the hitman is caught in the act doing another hit just a few months later by some weird fluke. And as part of a deal to avoid the death penalty he ends up giving evidence against all the people who had hired him along the way.
Husband gets tried for murder, convicted, and sentenced to, what, twenty years? and off to prison he goes.
However… wife didn’t actually die. Hitman’s method involved something like locking the unconscious/drugged person in a car trunk and then having it compacted. (Anyway, something that left the victim undead for while until automatically destroyed a bit later. Details still under construction.) In this case the victim came to and escaped somehow. She realizes that husband must have been behind it, but she’s scared he will just try again if she goes to the police, so she decides to simply run and hide under a new identity.
While hiding she follows the news about her ‘death’, and then the husband’s trial. “Serves him right,” she thinks and is greatly satisfied at the thought of him rotting in jail.
A few years later she gets involved in some minor brush with the law that gets her fingerprints taken, and her real name is discovered. Whoops!
What can happen next?
The husband was convicted of murder (conspiracy to commit murder?) but the murder didn’t happen. Does his conviction and sentence just go away?
Or do they somehow decide, well, okay, he should have been tried for ATTEMPTING to commit murder instead. Can they retry him for that? Or would that be barred for double jeopardy?
If they try him, and convict him, would the years he’d served be counted towards the new sentence? Like, he is sentenced to 10 years on the attempted murder, but he’d already been in prison for eight years for the murder so he only has to serve two more years?
And now that she’s been outed, anyway, can the wife go ahead and divorce the guy and try for half his estate? (I think trying to murder you must count as grounds for divorce.)
But what most interests me is, what can the husband legally do to the wife? Is she guilty of a crime because she’d sat back and knowingly watched him be convicted of a crime that hadn’t even happened? If not, could he at least sue her for something, for the eight years he was locked up?