Police: Jailed Woman Tried to Orchestrate Murder-For-Hire Plot

Authorities say one of the witnesses she wanted dead was 9 years old.

ByABC News
February 4, 2014, 3:37 AM

Feb. 4, 2014— -- A jailed woman facing a murder charge in Phoenix now is accused of trying to hire someone to kill four key witnesses in her upcoming trial.

Police say Bernadette Beanes, 20, plotted from behind bars, allegedly offering $20,000 to have the witnesses killed. One small problem: the hit man police say she thought she was talking with on the phone was an undercover detective.

"It's $5,000 a body and you'll be paid $20,000 total when the job is completely done," Beans says, according to the recorded phone conversations.

Perhaps a bigger problem: one of the witnesses she allegedly wanted dead is a 9-year-old boy.

Beanes has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a kidnapping and abduction last May. She's accused of helping a man kidnap a woman and her 3-year-old son. The man later shot himself to end a 12-hour police standoff.

Prosecutors say Beanes was charged with murder because the man died in the commission of a felony she's accused of participating in.

Police say Beanes wanted her key witnesses in that case dead – and that she discussed the murder-for-hire plot over the phone.

According to recorded phone conversations, Beanes allegedly instructed the "hit man" to "make it look like an accident ... but I mean we are going to dump the bodies down in Mexico, so …"

Another piece of the conversation, according to investigators, sees Beanes as indifferent to how the murders are committed, telling the undercover detective, "However you want (to kill them) … you paint your masterpiece."

That masterpiece, police say, was supposed to be part of a master plan to free Beanes from jail. Now, those plans could keep her locked up much longer.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Steve Martos called Beanes "callous."

"It was very clear she did not care their ages and did not care about another other than getting out of her case and not standing trial for the charges she was facing," Martos said.

ABC News' Maria Nikias and The Associated Press contributed to this report.