Mehrdad Fotoohighiam, who is accused of conspiracy to murder a Boone County Circuit judge and another person, is set to be released from jail Monday under strict conditions ordered by Special Judge Steven Ohmer on Thursday.

Fotoohighiam will be released on his own recognizance rather than having to post bond. He will be placed under house arrest and monitored with a GPS device. Adult Court Services inspected his home before Ohmer issued the order.

Fotoohighiam will be prohibited from leaving his home except to meet every Monday with Adult Court Services or to meet for up to three hours with his new attorney, Greg Smith.

Fotoohighiam also will be prohibited from contacting any judges or prosecuting attorneys, any witnesses involved in his case or their families, the alleged victims or any of their family members, anyone with a criminal history, convicted felons or his ex-wife and children.

He is to surrender his U.S. and Iranian passports and is prohibited from possessing any firearms or weapons of any kind. Fotoohighiam is additionally prohibited from discussing the victim of the case with anyone other than his attorney, from transferring money to any witnesses in the cause other than expert witnesses through his attorney, or contacting any persons other than his attorney or personnel from the Adult Court Services.

He is to appear in Judge Ohmer’s court in St. Louis at 9 a.m. June 3. His release will be revoked and he will be held in jail without bond again if he violates any of the conditions.

Fotoohighiam has been held in the Boone County Jail since September 2015. He was acquitted of a first-degree arson charge in a 2019 jury trial after he was accused of hiring a man to burn down Marcia Green’s trailer home.

Green, however, won a personal injury lawsuit against Fotoohighiam in 2018, and a jury awarded her $2.75 million in damages and attorney fees.

Fotoohighiam now faces charges of first-degree assault, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, tampering with a witness and conspiracy to tamper with a witness. He is alleged to have offered to pay two fellow inmates to kill a circuit court judge presiding over the arson case identified as “J.H.” as well as an individual identified as “H.F.” while awaiting trial on the arson charge.

The initials suggest he allegedly conspired to have someone kill his ex-wife, Hediah Fotoohighiam, and Circuit Judge Jeff Harris.

Ohmer had agreed April 6 to release Fotoohighiam on similar conditions and with a $350,000 bond, but when Fotoohighiam posted the bond, Green’s lawyers sought and won a garnishment, turning that money and another $83,870 that Fotoohighiam had attempted to pay an attorney over to Green.

Court records indicate that, with interest, Fotoohighiam still owes Green about $3.1 million.

Fotoohighiam’s trial had been scheduled for May 17 but was delayed after his former attorney, Scott Rosenblum, withdrew from the case and he had difficulty finding a replacement.

  • Public Life reporter, spring 2021 Studying arts & culture journalism Reach me at annaortega@umsystem.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720

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