Justin Bieber was the target of a grisly murder plot hatched by a convicted killer imprisoned in New Mexico, police told ABC News today.
Dana Martin, 45, an inmate at the Southern New Mexico Corrections Facility, is accused of masterminding the plan, which called for castrating Bieber and his bodyguard in New York, and two unnamed victims in Vermont, before strangling them, according to a New Mexico State Police affidavit.
Martin, who was sentenced to 978 years in jail for rape and murder in 2000, had an image of Bieber tattooed on his leg and plotted to kill him after his attempts to contact the 18-year-old pop star failed, according to the affidavit, which also alleged that he orchestrated the plot to achieve notoriety.
Former inmate Mark Staake and his nephew, Tanner Ruane, set off for Vermont on Nov. 14 to carry out the plan, intending to continue on to New York, according to the affidavit. They intended to catch Bieber between his Nov. 28 and 29 Madison Square Garden concerts.
The three now stand accused of two counts each of conspiracy to commit murder and two counts each of conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, according to Lt. Robert McDonald of the New Mexico State Police. New Mexico is awaiting Staake and Ruane's extraditions from the East Coast. McDonald did not know whether they had retained legal representation.
Martin wanted Ruane to attack the victims with Fiskars "Durasharp" gardening clippers, and offered to pay Ruane $2,500 for each testicle he got, the affidavit alleged.
It added that Martin wanted the intended victims strangled with a paisley necktie, just as Martin had done in a prior crime.
He referred to the murders as "the whole putting down of the 'dogs,'" the affidavit said.
Staake, who was released in October after serving time for burglary, and Ruane left Albuquerque for Vermont, where they had plotted to kill the two unidentified victims. However, before committing any killings, the pair missed a highway exit in Vermont near the border crossing into Canada and got stopped by a border patrol agent, according to the affidavit. Staake was arrested in Vermont on outstanding warrants.
Ruane was released, but New York State Police later arrested him after officials eavesdropped on a phone call in which Ruane and Martin allegedly made references to the murder plots, the affidavit said.
The car in which Ruane and Staake were stopped contained pruning shears.
When prison authorities confronted Martin, he allegedly detailed the plan and gave them a hand-drawn map of where Ruane and Staake had traveled.
A representative for Bieber released this statement to ABC News: "We take every precaution to protect and ensure the safety of Justin and his fans."
ABC News' Russell Goldman and Michael S. James contributed to this report.