Betty Neumar, 76, posted $300,000 bond late Thursday morning at the Stanly County jail, where she's been held since her arrest in May, Sheriff Rick Burris said. He did not know the conditions of her release or where she got the money. It was not clear if she would be allowed to leave the state.
Neumar is charged with solicitation to commit first-degree murder in the 1986 death of husband No. 4, Harold Gentry.
"I can't believe they let her out. It's just wrong, flat out wrong. I don't understand," said Gentry's brother, Al, who pressed law enforcement for more than two decades to get the case reopened.
Prosecutors allege Neumar tried to hire three people to kill Gentry in the six weeks before his bullet-riddled body was found in his rural North Carolina home.
Since her arrest, police in Florida and Ohio have begun to re-examine the deaths of her first child - Gary Flynn - and three of her other husbands, though she faces no charges in those cases. Georgia police recently closed their re-examination of the death of her fifth husband, John Neumar, saying they have no evidence she was involved.
A message seeking comment was left Thursday with Neumar's attorney, Charles Parnell. He has said in the past that prosecutors have been using the other deaths to unfairly paint his client as a black widow.
Al Gentry said law enforcement officers have told him to be careful since he was instrumental in Neumar's arrest.
"Now my back has a big target on it," said Gentry, who said he regularly carries a gun for protection.
Burris said he was surprised Neumar was able to post the bond, recently lowered from $500,000, but confident in the prosecution's case. Burris said it will likely take several months for prosecutors and defense attorneys to review all the court documents.
"It's going to take a lot of time," he said. "I wish it was going to court today. But I don't make the rules, I just abide by them."
Sheriff Lt. Scott Williams, the lead investigator in the case, said he also was surprised by Neumar's release.
"We don't know where she came up with the money," he said, referring to Neumar's 2000 bankruptcy filing.
Records show she and her late husband John Neumar owed $206,300 on 43 credit cards, and the bankruptcy filing allowed the couple to wipe away the debts. John Neumar's son, John K. Neumar, has said the money troubles surprised him because his father had no debt before he entered an almost 14-year marriage with Betty Neumar.
Burr Bail Bonds, which Neumar used to post bail, did not return messages left at its Albemarle office.