Airman who plotted to kill spouse for insurance money appears in court

When Airman 1st Class Katelyn Day first met her husband five years ago, she probably did not expect to wind up in front of the military’s highest court years later with charges of trying to kill him.

Yesterday, however, Day appeared before a judge after reportedly attempting to poison her estranged spouse with fentanyl and secure a $100,000 life insurance payout.

Day, who was previously stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, pleaded guilty to attempted wrongful possession of fentanyl as well as several other counts of attempted premeditation and attempted conspiracy to commit murder, according to court documents.

She was initially sentenced on July 23, 2020 to a dishonorable discharge, confinement of 10 years and a reduction to the lowest enlisted Air Force rank, according to the documents. Her sentence was affirmed in January by the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals before reaching the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces yesterday.

Day joined the service in April 2016 and met her husband, listed by his initials “TD” in court documents, the following year at an outpatient mental health treatment center in Shreveport, Louisiana. The couple quickly married in July 2017, and it would not be long before the relationship took a turn for the worse.

Just two weeks after tying the knot, Day learned that TD had an “on-again, off-again relationship” with a woman identified in court records by the initials “JM,” with whom he had a child born later that month.

In Dec. 2018, Day and TD had a child of their own, but the couple soon faced financial problems — in part, because TD’s sole source of income was a part time position that earned minimum wage. After trying marriage counseling, Day told TD in Feb. 2019 that she wanted to separate. TD was out the following month and Day filed for divorce in April.

Since Day and TD shared a child under 18 years old, Louisiana state law required the couple to live apart for at least a year before a judge would grant them a divorce. A lack of consistent child support from TD, however, further complicated financial matters for the airman.

By that fall, Day was finding emotional support from an unlikely source: JM, with whom TD had another child. Along with two other individuals, the pair would often converse in a Facebook group called “Hot Mess Express,” where they vented about TD. Things escalated, however, in private messages between Day and JM.

“Have someone kill him … then we won’t have to deal anymore,” Day wrote. “I’ll give you half his life insurance.” That life insurance policy would have been nullified if Day and TD were granted their divorce.

About a month later, Day reached out to a former boyfriend, named “SP” in the court documents, and asked for help.

“Do you know a hit man or something …[a]nd yes I’m serious,” she said.

When SP declined, Day turned to a coworker named “JJ” for assistance. Although he too declined — and had local police contact Day on Nov. 30 — the airman persisted.

On Nov. 30, Day reached out to an old contact, named “TL” in proceedings, and devised a plan in which TL would charge Day $100 a month to teach her how to fatally poison her estranged husband.

The duo’s scheme would not go as planned. On Dec. 15, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations began exploring the case with help from none other than JM, the former romantic rival-turned-friend-turned-confidential informant.

Under direction from the AFOSI, JM messaged Day about the status of hiring a hitman. The two agreed to drug TD by putting “muscle relaxers and pain killers” into a drink.

On Dec. 18, JM met Day at a Walmart and gave her a “clear baggy” with a white substance that AFOSI agents told her to say was fentanyl. Day bought the faux drugs from JM for $100, with the intention of executing the plan three days later.

Day’s opportunity never came.

That night, AFOSI agents arrived at Barksdale Air Force Base to search Day’s home, where they found the fake drugs stashed in her freezer along with a pair of rubber gloves. After initially denying the plot to murder her husband, Day eventually confessed.

According to the Daily Beast, TD’s mother confirmed in January that her son Tyler Day is the TD referenced in the court records.

In court yesterday, prosecutors asserted that the two “attempted conspiracy” charges Day faces are fair, though her defense team pushed back, arguing that the charges are too vague and diverge from federal law.

“In short, this court should hold attempted conspiracy is not an offense under the [uniform code of military justice],” Air Force Maj. Matthew Blyth said during the court-martial hearing.

Setting aside the two attempted conspiracy charges will reportedly not impact the actual sentence Day received in the lower court. The status of when a final decision will be reached is unclear at this time.

Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media