James Pepe Accused of Hiring Hitman to Kill Co-Worker

Teacher pulled out of his classroom for allegedly arranging colleague's murder.
3:00 | 09/29/12

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Transcript for James Pepe Accused of Hiring Hitman to Kill Co-Worker
First, new details in the outrageous story out of florida. The high school teacher pulled out of his class and arrested for allegedly hiring a hitman tokill another teacher. We're getting our first look at james pepe. There he is in court on friday. And john schriffen has the story. Reporter: The teacher appeared in court yesterday, with a judge trying to decide if he's a threat to the public. The 55-year-old is accused of a bizarre murder-for-hire plot for one of his colleagues. We're learning about his potential motive, as well as his past and his volatile temper. To the podium. Reporter: For the first time, we're getting a look at james pepe, in front of a judge friday, wearing his new, red inmate jump suit. Police arrested the 55-year-old in the middle of class, at bloomingdale, high school, near tampa, florida. It's very disconcerting that we have teachers in our public schools or our schools that are capable of doing this. And our children are in their care. Reporter: The alleged target, robert meredith, a teacher that worked with pepe at another school. Police believe he was telling people he was a child molester. Meredith claims that's not true. Never any scuffles or words exchanged? Never? Never. Reporter: Police were tipped off when the man the teacher allegedly tried to hire informed authorities. The fbi soon got involved. And one taped information with an undercover agent two weeks ago, pepe allegedly said, quote, he had an issue he might need taken care of. And that he would be willing to pay $2,000. When he wouldn't agree to meeting in person, police felt there was enough evidence and moved in. Abc news has learned pepe was transferred to the school last year because he wasn't getting along with his former co-workers. In 28 years of teaching, the most serious blemish on his record happened in 2001, when he was suspended. There was an incident where he created a stir in a staff meeting. Apparently, he was acting aggressively. And had some complaints that were inappropriate. Reporter: Now, a spokesperson for the schools said that pepe has never acted or been aggressive towards his students. He will appear before the judge today to determine whether bail will be set in this case.

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