A Wisconsin woman was sentenced to prison after she admitted that she tried to hire a hitman on a dark web murder-for-hire site.
Kelly Harper, 38, of Columbus, Wisconsin was according to court records sentenced to 72 months in prison for attempting to hire a hitman to murder her ex-husband. Harper’s plot was discovered by journalists who were investigating murder-for-hire sites on the darkweb.
Court documents show that while investigating a murder-for-hire site on the darkweb, the journalists acquired records of messages between the site’s admin and one of the site’s clients.
In the chat logs, the client gave detailed information about the target to the site’s admin. The information included the target’s pictures, phone number, and vehicle details. The client had also sent a screenshot of a bitcoin wallet to the site’s administrator as proof of payment. The journalists notified the would-be victim and shared the information they had collected in their investigation.
On January 13, 2021, the target’s girlfriend contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and gave them copies of the information the journalists had given to her boyfriend (the target). The FBI consequently contacted the journalists who in turn confirmed the authenticity of the information.
The FBI launched an investigation into the transfer of the bitcoin from the client’s wallet to the murder-for-hire site. The phone number, email address, and IP address linked to the client’s wallet showed that the wallet belonged to Harper.
The investigators executed a search warrant on Harper’s residence on February 5. The investigators found and seized screenshots of a darkweb murder-for-hire site and pictures of the target that Harper had sent to the site’s administrator.
Harper was consequently arrested and questioned and she reportedly admitted that she had sent Bitcoin to the site’s administrator to have the target killed.
Harper was charged with using the Internet to hire someone to commit murder on February 8. She pleaded guilty to the charge on June 24.
U.S. District Judge William M. Conley sentenced Harper to six years in federal prison on September 30.