It began as many reunions of old friends do, on Facebook. Christine Metter and Patrick Sabo had gone to high school together in Chesterland, Ohio, back when she was still Christine Zombory. Sabo and Christine reconnected and found a common interest in complaining about their exes, according to court documents.
Christine’s ex-husband, David Metter, had custody of the couple’s oldest daughter and was planning on trying to get custody of their other three children, Mashable reported, but Christine wasn’t having it.
In the Facebook conversation that sparked the idea that would land Christine and her father, Al Zombory, in prison, Christine “was complaining to Sabo about certain issues she had with her ex-husband, David Metter. Jokingly, Sabo told [her] to save her money and hire a hitman. Sabo followed the comment with “LMAO. [Christine] responded “LOL,” and their conversation ended,” according to court documents.
A seed was planted, and a few hours later Sabo found himself at dinner with his high Metter and her father who he said propositioned him to murder David Metter for $50,000, court documents say.
Sabo Pretended to Agree to do the Hit, But Instead, He Went to the Eastlake Police Department
It’s not clear why Christine and Zombory would trust Sabo to carry out a murder on their behalf, but in hindsight, they picked the wrong guy.
According to the case files, Sabo met Christine and her father at their apartment complex on May 27, 2011, as Zombory was living with Christine at the time. They all rode to a restaurant together and on the way, Zombory told Sabo he’d had a stroke and his hands trembled so he couldn’t shoot straight, but if he could, he said “I’d have shot the son of a b**** myself,” referring to his former son in law, David.
Court documents say Sabo was “somewhat alarmed,” and “surmised [Christine] apparently took his earlier comment on Facebook seriously.”
According to the case files, “Once they arrived at the restaurant, Zombory disclosed that he wanted Mr. Metter shot and killed. Zombory offered Sabo $50,000 to complete the hit, and told Sabo he was prepared to give him $2,000 as a down payment. Zombory stated the remaining money would come from a life insurance policy on Mr. Metter of which [Christine] was a beneficiary. Zombory gave Sabo a picture of the proposed victim and a hand-written address.”
The life insurance policy was for $1.5 million, the website Cleveland reported, so the bulk of the payment for the murder was contingent on the policy coming through.
Sabo left dinner that night and contacted the Eastlake Police to tell them what had happened, and a plan was hatched for a police officer, Detective Christopher Bowerstock, to pretend to be a hitman. He would go by the name, “Vinnie.”
But the police still needed Sabo to help catch his high school friend and her septuagenarian father in their murder-for-hire plot.
And they would need the help of David Metter, too.
David Metter Played Along With the Plan, Sending a Photo of Himself That Police Altered to Make It Look Like He’d Been Shot in the Head
David, who had moved to Atlanta since divorcing Christine, was contacted by police and told that his ex-wife and former father-in-law were trying to pay someone to kill him.
Police, “requested that he take some pictures of himself that could be manipulated to make him appear deceased. He did so and a picture was altered to make it appear Mr. Metter had been shot in the head,” the court documents say.
“Vinny” took the photo to show Christine and Zombory “proof” that he’d finished the job. According to the court files, when “Vinny”, aka, detective Bowerstock, met with Christine under the guise of looking at the insurance policy from which he was supposedly going to be paid, he offered to show her the photo of her “dead” husband.
Christine “declined to look, but muttered, ‘he beat me and my children'” the case files say.
She asked the man she believed killed her children’s father if he was able to make the murder look like a mugging. To that, he said he’d shot the man in the head “like you guys wanted,” per the court records.
Moments later the police came in and arrested Christine and Zombory on the spot. Both were ultimately convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder in 2012, according to Mashable.
Christine, 41, was sentenced to 10-years in prison, and Zombory, 77, was sentenced to nine years in prison. He died before his sentence was up, per WKYC.