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The good folks over at crimescenewriter are currently discussing the hired killers, and as it happens I’ve investigated cases where assassins were hired to kill other humans. The “employers'” motives for wanting certain folks to die immediately were the usual sort—jealousy, greed, money, and drugs.

By the way, crimescenewriter is a fabulous Q&A site where writers present questions to member experts (medical examiner, detectives, explosives, weapons, and other top experts in a variety of fields). I learn something new nearly every time I visit.

Since the topic popped up again, I thought today would be a good time to re-post this article. It’s a true story about a low level thief I’ve called Stump Johnson. The alias is to protect the identities of everyone involved in what I’m about to tell you.

As I said above, Stump was not the man’s given name, obviously. But in the area of the south where I worked as a detective, several folks had nicknames they’d “earned” for various reasons.

There was “One-Eye” Pearson (he lost his right eye as a result of a stabbing). “Truck” Turner, a slim, lanky man drove a tractor-trailer for a chicken processing plant. “Backy” Parnell, a man who’d worked at a tobacco plant in Richmond for most of his adult life. “Cotton” Roberts, a farmer’s eldest son. Bill “Jack” Daniels, an avid deer hunter who always, without fail, kept a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey under the seat of his pickup truck. And we mustn’t forget good ole “Road Runner” Rickert, a form high school football star who enjoyed running from the police even when he’d done nothing wrong. He simply enjoyed seeing cops run in his wake.

Stump didn’t do a thing to earn his nickname other than to be himself. He was short and stocky, and his arms and legs looked like they wanted to be a bit longer but never made it past the appearance of four lengths of chubby, overstuffed linked sausages attached to his torso. He also had a neck that wasn’t visible, as if his head rested squarely on his shoulders. So yeah, he looked like a tree stump. So …

The incident involving Stump started as a simple investigation about stolen property, a cheap copy machine, and it wound up as one of those sorts of investigations where a minor crime snowballed into a convoluted menagerie of criminal activity. One of those crimes involved murder.

Stump broke into a school to steal the copy machine. He did so in order to sell the device, hoping for a return of twenty dollars for very little time and effort invested. Then, after he’d handed over the copier to a local drug dealer in exchange for a small piece of crack cocaine, he’d smoke the drug and then head out to steal something else that could net another twenty-dollar “rock.” It’s a cycle that’s familiar to scores of addicts.

Anyway, Stump stole a copier and, unable to unload it to his regular dealer, sold it to a guy who was known for receiving stolen merchandise. The “guy,” a local businessman, had his “people” transport hot items out of town where they’d resell at a profit. Selling in a location other than where the property was stolen meant the chance of getting caught was less than great.

This time, however, Stump was arrested while purchasing crack cocaine during an undercover narcotics operation. And, to save his own skin, he started singing like a drunk parrot—“So and so sells liquor to kids. Uncle Billy Buck is dating an underage girl. My cousin speeds all the time. My mama once stole a loaf of bread. Aunt Lulla Belle dips snuff. Grandma runs a liquor still.” Anything that he thought would prevent going back to jail.

But the thing that brought me into the picture that night was when he said, “The ‘guy’ who bought the copier I stole is looking for someone he can hire to kill his lover’s husband.”

So we went to work, first by having undercover officers purchase stolen merchandise from the “guy,” who we’ll call Freddie the Fence. During the time of the undercover operation regarding stolen property, I’d also had undercover officers purchase narcotics from Fence’s girlfriend, the wife of the man Fence wanted to kill. I know, the tale’s a bit twisty right now but we’re getting there.

As soon as we had Fence’s adulterous girlfriend in custody, she, too, started snitching on everyone under the sun, including Fence. Miraculously, she’d instantly re-fallen in love with husband and was sorry for the affair with Fence. She said she’d been horrified to learn that Fence planned to have her husband killed. So she said, but feel free to insert a big, fat eye-roll at this point. I didn’t believe it either. Not for a minute. She was in on the plot from the beginning. Actually, the whole thing was her idea.

She told me she was scared of Fence. By the way, we’d recorded the two of them—the woman and Fence—together in their vehicles on numerous occasions and, believe me, the last thing she was, was afraid. If anything, it was Fence who should’ve been frightened of her, with all of the screaming and thrashing about going on during, well, you know.

She finally owned up to being a part of the scheme to murder her husband, hoping for a reduced sentence by being cooperative. She told me the plan was for her to convince her husband to join her on a picnic in a wooded area out in the countryside. The location was hilly with a creek situated where the bottoms of two rolling hills met. It was a place where vegetation was wild and wooly and the tree canopies were thick. It was that deep into the woods.

The specific point where the picnic was to take place was in a clear line of sight, one-hundred yards up to a midway point on the side of one of the hills. At that hillside location, the intended shooter-for-hire fashioned a makeshift hunting blind of branches, limbs, and loose pine straw. If a person didn’t know it was there they’d not have been able to spot it. He was to make the “kill shot” from the blind.

Before the appointed day of the killing, we asked the woman if she’d wear a wire during a meeting with Fence. She agreed and what we heard was as chilling as it gets. Fence detailed the entire plan, including that he’d decided to kill the hired assassin once the killer had murdered the woman’s husband (so many twisty turns). Then he and she would flee to another state where they’d live under assumed identities.

Fence named the assassin and he stated how much he’d already paid as a deposit and the amount of the balance due when the deed was done—$5,000 each time. He described everything, and even spilled the beans about his entire criminal enterprise, including his drug operation and where he bought his supply, and the routes they took when making their runs. He told where they hid stolen property and where they took it to sell, and more. All because he loved and trusted this woman who sold him out in mere seconds. Apparently the love was not reciprocal when a life sentence in state prison was at stake.

So, long story short, with probable cause established, I applied for search warrants for Fence’s business and home, as well as a warrant for the home of the hired gunman. We found stolen property and narcotics at all three places. Fence and Mr. Hitman were arrested and jailed. Both admitted their guilt and settled for a plea agreement.

The girlfriend/wife … sigh …  was welcomed back home by the intended victim of murder. Yes, her husband forgave her for playing a role in what was almost his demise. As far as his wife having an affair with Fence, the husband forgave her for that too. But, less than a year later she was in cahoots with another bad guy and was quite literally caught with her pants down when his place was stormed by police during drug raid. Yes, the goo-goo-eyed husband posted her bond and took her back, again.

I’m sure most of you have heard of the “dark web,” the creepy and ooky, mysterious and spooky part of the internet that isn’t indexed by search engines. It’s the place where interested parties can buy credit card numbers, usernames and passwords, guns, phony money (counterfeit), login information to bank accounts, and fake IDs and intellectual trade secrets. Heck, even a lifetime Netflix premium account sells for under 10 bucks in this secret place.

In addition to the holiday gift items listed above you could also hire criminals to attack computers for you. Yes, if you’re stuck as to what to get that hard-to-buy-for “someone special,”  well look no further because there’s something for everyone on the dark web. If corporate espionage and IP theft are your thing, they’ve got it. Drugs? Yep. Actually, the list of “things” for sale on the dark web is practically endless, including “Help Wanted” ads for the folks who kill for a living.


SINGAPORE – A man, 47-year-old Allen Vincent Hui Kim Seng, went on the Dark Web site Camorra to hire a hitman to murder his former lover’s boyfriend, Mr Tan Han Shen.

Hui Kim Seng was caught by police before the murder took place and, as a result, he later pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally abetting Camorra Hitmen to kill Han Shen. He was sentenced to five years’ jail on September 18, 2019.


Ordering a Hit is as Easy as Ordering a Book From Amazon

Yes indeedy, all one needs to hire an online hitman is to let your fingers happily dance across the keyboard using, of course, the Tor browser. You continue your search until you land on, as did Allen Vincent Hui Kim Seng, the Camorra Hitmen site.

Once you’ve reached the Camorra website you’ll then need to open an account, after which you’ll type out your request(s)—I want someone to torture and kill my boyfriend/spouse/girlfriend/neighbor/boss/ex/priest/girl who rejected my request for a date back in junior high school , etc.

The next step in the process is to send a predetermined payment fee, in bitcoin, along with a photo of the intended target. Then it’s goodnight Irene … or Sally, or Billy, or Ralph or, well, you get the idea.

Murder For Hire By Internet—Science Fiction or Reality?

In 2018, Russian police investigator Lt Col Yevgeniya Shishkina was shot dead outside her home near Moscow. A few months later police arrested two people from St Petersburg in connection with the murder—a 19-year-old medical student, Abdulaziz Abdulazizov, and a 17-year-old teenage boy.

As a result of their investigation police discovered that the two suspects were hired to carry out the killing of the high-ranking officer. They were allegedly paid a sum of one million rubles (just over $16,000 U.S. dollars). The person suspected of hiring the pair goes by the pseudonym Miguel Morales. It was he who was being investigated by Lt Col Shishkina, and it was he who ordered the hit. “Miguel Morales” is an owner of a drug-dealing site on the dark web called Hydra, which, according to police, is where the order to kill was placed.

Hydra is Russia’s largest online illegal drug-trading platform that’s comprised of dozens of individual sites.

It was in August 2018, when the 17-year-old, the younger of the two suspects, allegedly a posted on the Hydra platform, looking for “work.” A few weeks later he received a reply, a request for a private messaging address. Soon, details of the contract killing were allegedly discussed.

Officials believe the 17-year-old split the money received—400,000 rubles for himself and 600,000 to his partner, Mr Abdulazizov. It was to be Abdulazizov’s job to do the actual killing. To do so he used a car-sharing service to travel from St Petersburg to Moscow, where he picked up a pistol and ammunition from a “drop box” placed in a predetermined location, a wooded area in a Moscow suburb. Then he booked a hotel room near Lt. Col. Shishkina’s home. He waited there for further instructions.

Then, using the Telegram messenger app, the 17-year-old sent Abdulazizov the name and geolocation of Lt. Col. Shishkina. Meanwhile, Abdulazizov used his downtime learning how to load the weapon by studying YouTube videos.

On the day of the murder, at 6.30 a.m., Abdulazizov allegedly told investigators he ran around the back of Lt Col Shishkina’s home where he quickly approached the officer from behind, and fired twice at close range. She died minutes later. It was said that she passed away in her husband’s arms.

Abdulazizov and his teen accomplice were arrested on March 12, 2019.

This case is only one of a few known online murder-for-hires. The question, though, is how many have occurred that remain undetected?

So all you mystery, thriller, and suspense writers out there, this little tidbit of information should send your brain cells into a tizzy. And all this time you believed that only you could think of a murder scheme as bizarre as online hitmen.

As they say, truth is stranger than … well, you know.