Murder for Hire? Looking for a Hit Man

Photo: Murder for Hire?: Looking for a Hitman: Some Have Paid Thousands of Dollars Allegedly to Buy a Murder

From the famous turned infamous, the young and old, there is now a flurry of high-profile cases involving murder for hire: people who have allegedly paid off hit men to kill for them, and sometimes not succeeding.

Examples include former Food Network star Juan Carlos Cruz, who will be sentenced next month after he was convicted of trying to pay two homeless men to kill his wife. Last month, there was an arraignment in Ohio of a mother-in-law accused of plotting to hire an assassin to kill her son-in-law.

Dalia Dippolito, a newlywed who was secretly recorded by Boynton Beach police allegedly negotiating terms for her husband's death, will go on trial in Florida after being charged with attempting to arrange his murder. A few weeks ago Matthew Campbell, a 19-year-old from Billings, Montana, was arrested, also for allegedly trying to buy murder. He was charged with using of Interstate Commerce Facilities in commission of Murder for Hire, according to court documents.

Campbell wrote a letter from jail to his mother Dana, who read it aloud to ABC News.

"I hope you will somehow talk to me and maybe forgive me some day," Campbell read from her son's letter.

It's an eerie message, especially after Campbell learned from an FBI agent that she was the target for the hit man her son allegedly hired.

"He asked to speak to me out in private and he said, 'I hate to be the one to inform you, but we've been notified that there's been a contract put out on your life,'" Campbell said of the conversation with the FBI agent. "It sounds insane."

Former FBI agent and ABC News consultant Brad Garrett has worked for 20 years on some of the FBI's most difficult and high-profile cases, including getting confessions from one of the D.C. snipers, according to his website. He said he has worked on many of these "murder for hire" situations. He added that most of the time, the clients looking to pay assassins are inexperienced.

"Ninety-nine percent of these murder(s) for hire are done by these amateurs," he said.

Garrett added that the clients often don't fully understand what they're getting themselves into by paying someone else to do the killings.

"Murder for hire has been around forever because people believe in their sort of naive state that they can step to someone else, have them commit the murder, and at the very worst, that person will get caught and go to jail and they won't," he explained.

From Using Undercover Cops to Staging Murders

Dippolito learned this fact to her regret, according to prosecutors, as a now notorious video clip of her has been circling on YouTube. In the clip, Dippolito appeared to be hammering out the when and where of her husband's murder. The problem was that the supposed hit man she was allegedly plotting with was actually an undercover cop.

Garrett said it is common for clients to approach someone they know with a shady past for help with the nefarious plan, and that's when they get caught.

"They don't know who to step to, so what they do is step to a friend or an associate or someone they know from their past who has served time in prison, thinking that person could connect them or would connect them," Garrett explained. "What happens the vast majority of the time (is that) the person they step to goes to law enforcement."

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