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Entries in Hit Man (9)

Wednesday
Jun272012

Grosse Pointe Husband Allegedly Caught on Tape Ordering Hit

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Investigators say they have video and audio of Bob Bashara attempting a hit on his former handyman, Joe Gentz, who confessed to killing Bashara's wife, Jane.

An informant worked with police in a sting operation and Bashara, 54, allegedly paid $2,000 for the hit, even signing a receipt, sources told ABC News.

But Bashara's attorney said his client was framed.

"We think we have figured out who that person is who set him up," David Griem said.

Meanwhile, Rachel Gillett, who says she was once Bashara's mistress, has gone into hiding. Gillett's attorney, Doraid Elder, said her client is "very afraid" and worried that she might be Bashara's next alleged target after his arrest.

"She was happy that he was in jail but mortified when she found out why he was in jail," Elder said.

It all began in January when Jane Bashara, a marketing executive, was found strangled in the backseat of her Mercedes in a Detroit alley, hours after her husband reported her missing.

Attention quickly turned to Bob Bashara, who repeatedly broke down in tears and denied any involvement in his wife's death.

"I'm frightened about this.  To know that I could spend the rest of my life in jail for a crime I didn't commit is a very scary thing," Bashara told ABC News in an interview after his wife's murder.  "We had a good relationship.  We cared for each other."

Gentz told police Bashara offered him money and then forced him at gunpoint to kill his wife in the garage of their home, an accusation he denies.

"I don't own a firearm," Bashara said.  "I absolutely had nothing to do with this.  That is a sick assessment on his part.  It just shows how deranged he is."

Gentz turned himself in to authorities shortly after the discovery of Jane's body.

Bob Bashara failed a police-administered polygraph test, but passed one arranged by his attorney.  He has also been accused of having a mistress and was linked to a secret S&M club located beneath his bar.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun262012

Grosse Pointe Murder: Did Bob Bashara Try to Kill Alleged Hit Man?

Kevin Horan/Stone(DETROIT) -- The Detroit man who is a person of interest in his wife’s killing has been arrested for allegedly trying to kill the man whom he allegedly hired to kill his wife.

In an already confusing case, police have charged Bob Bashara with trying to have his former handyman, Joe Gentz, killed from inside a local jail.  Gentz has been behind bars since March and is awaiting trial after confessing to strangling Bashara’s wife, Jane.

“He had no idea why he had been arrested,” David Griem, Bashara’s lawyer, said Monday.  “He was shocked when I told him what the charge was going to be.  I think he believes this was all part of a setup.”

Jane Bashara, a marketing executive, was found strangled in the backseat of her Mercedes in a Detroit alley on Jan. 25, hours after her husband reported her missing.

Attention quickly turned to Bob Bashara, who repeatedly broke down in tears and denied any involvement in his wife’s death.  Gentz told police Bashara offered him money and then forced him at gunpoint to kill his wife in the garage of their home, an accusation he denies.

“I don’t own a firearm,” Bashara told ABC News.  “I absolutely had nothing to do with this.  That is a sick assessment on his part.  It just shows how deranged he is.”

Bashara has said he had nothing to do with his wife’s death and blamed the killing on Gentz, whom he said was angry at Bashara because of a business deal.  Gentz turned himself in to authorities shortly after the discovery of Jane’s body.

Bashara failed a police-administered polygraph test, but passed one arranged by his attorney.  He has also been accused of having a mistress and was linked to a secret S&M club located beneath his bar.

Jane Bashara’s mother, Lorraine Engelbrecht, filed a police report against her son-in-law in May, stating she was in fear of him because she believed his character changed, according to ABC News affiliate WXYZ-TV.  Bashara’s purported mistress, Rachel Gillet, filed a personal protection order, claiming she was afraid for her life as well.

Griem says his client will likely be charged with solicitation to murder a witness and could face life in prison if convicted.  Griem calls these latest accusations bewildering.

“It doesn’t happen to me often,” he said, “but I’m speechless.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar142012

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Officer Charged with Making Death Threats

Hemera/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- A lieutenant colonel from the same military base in Washington state that's linked to an Army sergeant accused of slaying 16 Afghan civilians was arraigned Tuesday on charges that he tried to hire a hit man to kill his estranged wife and his commanding officer.

Lt. Col. Robert L. Underwood, who is assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), allegedly sought to pay someone $150,000 to murder his wife.

Lt. Col. Shawn Reed, the commanding officer who was also apparently a target, had ordered a psychiatric evaluation of Underwood.

Reed says that Underwood was involved in contentious divorce proceedings and that his wife got a military protective order last December when Underwood allegedly intended "to hurt her and her children."

There are also reports that Underwood told his daughter that he planned to do "something crazy" that "the world would know about."

Meanwhile, Underwood's girlfriend told investigators he talked about blowing up the state Capitol in Olympia.  She claims he also threatened to kill her when she allegedly came across child pornography on his computer.

Underwood has been charged with three counts of felony harassment for the alleged death threats.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov042011

Jury Begins Deliberations in Houston Murder-for-Hire Case

Comstock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- A Houston jury is now deliberating after days of tearful testimony in the trial of a man prosecutors say was hired to kill a millionaire attorney's socialite wife.

Damian Flores' fate hangs in the balance, after Michelle Gaiser told the jury how she arranged to have Houston socialite Yvonne Stern murdered in the parking lot of her apartment building.  Gaiser said that she gave Flores $15,000 as a down payment on the hit.

In court, prosecutors painted Flores as a cold-blooded killer.

"Damian Flores doesn't look the part.  Damian Flores is the part," attorney for the prosecution Justin Keiter said.

Yvonne Stern testified Monday that when he approached her while she sat in her car she begged Flores for her life, but that he took a few steps away, turned around, and fired through the glass.

"He had the opportunity to not kill her," prosecutor Kari Allen said. "But what did he do?  He turned around, he bit his lip and he pulled the trigger."

Gaiser admitted to the jury she told Flores where Stern lived, what type of car she drove and when she would be alone.

"He was supposed to go over and wait for Yvonne and do the job -- shoot Yvonne," Gaiser said.

In exchange for her dramatic testimony, Gaiser made a deal with prosecutors in which pleading guilty to solicitation of capital murder led to a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

Gaiser is also expected to testify against Jeffrey Stern when he stands trial in a few months, stating that the two conspired to hire Flores to kill his wife.

Jeffrey Stern maintains his innocence, as does his wife, who had started divorce proceedings, citing adultery, but later changed her mind and reconciled with him.

Though the jury could return with a verdict as soon as Friday in Flores' case, the couple will not know its fate until next year.  Jeffrey Stern's trial is scheduled for February, and Yvonne, his alleged victim, vows she'll be right by his side.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov022011

Houston Murder-for-Hire Mistress Testifies at Alleged Hitman's Trial

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- The Houston woman who has confessed to hiring a hitman to murder her lover's wife testified at the alleged killer's trial that she gave him $15,000 in cash and told him where and when to gun down the woman.

Michelle Gaiser told the jury how she arranged to have Houston socialite Yvonne Stern murdered in her car while it was parked in the lot of her apartment building.  The mistress of Yvonne Stern's husband, millionaire attorney Jeffrey Stern, spent the entire day on the stand, sobbing nearly the entire time.

"I made a horrible mistake, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel ashamed of what I have done," Gaiser, taking the stand in her jail jumpsuit, told the court.

Jeffrey Stern has been indicted on solicitation of capital murder charges, while five other people, including Gaiser, have been charged in the plot.  Prosecutors are presenting a case that Gaiser plotted with Jeffrey Stern to pay alleged hitman Damien Flores to shoot his wife.

Jeffrey Stern is denying this allegation -- and his wife believes him.

"I love my husband.  I believe in him wholeheartedly, of his innocence.  He had nothing to do with this, and he could not do anything with this.  We are victims of a fatal attraction," Yvonne Stern said.

Gaiser is the star witness in the trial against Flores, who is accused of shooting Yvonne Stern in the stomach as she sat in her Cadillac SUV in May of last year.

The tearful victim testified Monday that she begged Flores for her life that day, but that he took a few steps away, turned around, and fired through the glass.

Flores' attorney told jurors Monday that Stern initially identified another man -- who had worked on the Sterns' home -- as her assailant.  She later identified Flores from a line-up.

He was allegedly the third hitman hired to kill Yvonne Stern in four months.

Gaiser admitted to the jury that she told Flores where Stern lived, what type of car she drove and when she would be alone.  She said that she gave him Flores $15,000 in cash in an envelope as a down payment on the murder.

In exchange for her testimony, Gaiser made a deal with prosecutors in which pleading guilty to solicitation of capital murder led to a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun202011

Dalia Dippolito's Husband Speaks About Wife Hiring Hit Man to Kill Him

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Mike Dippolito, the man whose wife was caught on camera hiring a hit man to kill him, didn't feel any joy when Dalia Dippolito was sentenced to 20 years in prison last week.

"It didn't necessarily make me feel good.  It makes you realize how serious what was really going on was," said Mike Dippolito.  "It's just something you can't imagine anybody could really, really do.  It was so senseless for a girl, my wife...to take those steps to do that.  It was so unnecessary."

In 2009, detectives in Boynton Beach, Fla., set up an undercover sting operation targeting Dalia Dippolito after being tipped off by an old lover that she wanted her husband dead.  She was caught on camera hiring an undercover police officer who she thought was a hit man and seen faking tears in a mock crime scene set up by police to make her think her husband had been murdered.

The couple had been married just six months and strange things began happening to Mike Dippolito shortly after the marriage began.  His money would go missing and somebody had planted drugs in his car trunk.

"I was in love with my wife…that day when they told me your wife is going to have you murdered, everything just sort of fell into place...it just solidified for me I'm not crazy," Mike Dippolito said.  "I think she might have loved me for a week."

Since learning of the plot, Mike Dippolito said that he's suffered a nervous breakdown.  The couple are still married and are working on their divorce proceedings.

When her family begged for leniency as Dalia Dippolito wiped away tears last week, Judge Jeffrey Colbath said the 28-year-old woman took advantage of the man who loved her.

"You used guile and sophistry to dupe others into your web of deception.  You were the puppet master that was pulling all the strings...It was pure evil," Colbath said.

Outside of the courtroom, Mike Dippolito supported the judge's ruling.

"I wish we were never here, and as far as the sentence, I'm 5,000 percent happy with it," he said.

The 5,000 percent Mike Dippolito mentioned was in reference to the undercover video showing his wife saying she was "5,000 percent sure" she wanted him dead.

During her trial, Dalia Dippolito's defense team claimed that the plot was fake and a ploy to get a reality television show.  Her lawyers claimed her husband, Mike, was in on the plot too.  Mike Dippolito has denied those claims.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun172011

Florida Woman Sentenced to 20 Years for Murder Sting

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- Dalia Dippolito, the Florida woman who was found guilty of hiring a hitman to kill her husband just six months after they got married, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday.

Going into the sentencing, Dippolito, 28, faced up to 30 years in prison for solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

She was arrested in 2009 after detectives in Boynton Beach, Florida set up an undercover sting operation targeting her after they were tipped off by an old friend that Dippolito wanted her husband, Mike Dippolito, dead.

Working with police, the friend, Mohamed Shihadeh, set up a meeting for Dippolito with a "hit man" who was actually an undercover Boynton Beach police officer.  Their conversation, too, was videotaped.

The meeting was recorded on hidden camera and shows the officer, Widy Jean, warning Dippolito that once their meeting ended, she wouldn't have an opportunity to change her mind about having her husband killed.

After Dippolito "hired" Jean, there was more camera work to be done.  They set up a fake crime scene at the Dippolitos' home to make sure it looked like Mike Dippolito really had been murdered.  When Dalia Dippolito arrived at the house and was told by police that her husband had been killed, two cameras caught her erupting into a fit of tears.

The police called it the worst acting job they'd ever seen.  They said the act continued in the police station interrogation room, where Dalia Dippolito denied killing her husband.

The tapes, of course, told a different story.  Police arrested Dippolito and, this past April, she went on trial on charges of solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

Dippolito's lawyers couldn't deny what was on those police tapes, but attorney Michael Salnick told the jury that nothing was what it seemed.  He claimed that Dippolito's husband was never going to be a victim.  Instead, he said, Mike Dippolito orchestrated the whole thing.

Defense attorneys argued Mike Dippolito was a fan of shows like the Jersey Shore and Cheaters which led him to plan a fake murder-for-hire so he and his wife could get their own reality show.

Dalia Dippolito expected her husband to tell investigators it was a hoax after she was arrested, defense lawyers said.  But when Mike Dippolito took the stand, he rejected the reality show idea.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May112011

Dalia Dippolito Trial: Cops Admit Lie in Hitman Sting to Kill Husband

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Police admitted that as part of an elaborate sting operation they lied to a Florida woman on trial for allegedly hiring a hit man to murder her husband.

The wife's defense has claimed that she thought the whole thing was part of a reality TV show her husband wanted to do.

Boynton Beach Police Sgt. Paul Sheridan testified Tuesday that he misled Dalia Dippolito about the purpose of the waiver she signed for the police sting, to be taped for the fictional reality show, Cops.

When asked if he lied to the woman about what the waiver was for, he said, "yes."

Dalia Dippolito is facing charges of solicitation to commit first-degree murder.  In 2009, she allegedly hired an undercover police officer posing as a hit man to kill her husband, Michael Dippolito.

"If the defense had just been about what the cops did here, that the cops were negligent…this would become a very significant point," said said Dan Abrams, ABC News legal analyst.  "The more the defense can make this feel icky and make it muddle what the investigators did, the better off they are."

Dippolito and her defense team contend that the murder-for-hire plot was part of her husband's elaborate plan to get his own reality television show and that no one was actually going to be killed.  She expected her husband to tell police of the plot once she'd been arrested, defense attorneys argued.

The trial is close to wrapping up and Abrams said it's crucial for Dalia Dippolito to take the stand for her defense to have a chance.

Dalia Dippolito's former husband, Michael, has denied that the incident was a reality show plot.  He testified in April that he was absolutely shocked to discover that six months into his marriage, his wife was plotting to have him killed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr272011

Florida Woman Uses Reality TV Defense in Murder for Hire Trial

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- The Florida woman on trial for allegedly hiring a hit man to kill her husband is using an unusual defense: it was a scripted ploy to snag a reality TV show.

Dalia Dippolito, 30, is facing charges of solicitation to commit first-degree murder.  In 2009, she allegedly hired an undercover police officer posing as a hit man to kill her husband, Mike Dippolito.

In opening statements Tuesday, Dalia Dippolito's defense team claimed that the hiring of a hit man to kill her husband was a big hoax and that Dalia Dippolito's husband, Mike, was in on the scheme.  The defense argues that the couple was committing the hoax to get a reality show.

Mike Dippolito denied that, taking the stand and testifying that he was absolutely shocked to discover that six months into his marriage, his wife was plotting to have him killed.

In 2009, detectives set up an undercover sting operation which included telling Dalia Dippolito that her husband had been killed.  All of the sting was caught on camera by the crew of the reality show Cops.

Video showed Dalia Dippolito crying when she learned her husband had been murdered and asking to see him.  Surveillance video caught her planning the murder.

"I just need to make sure everything is going to be taken care of," she told the police officer posing as the hit man.

The defense argues that it was Mike Dippolito, a convicted felon on probation, who orchestrated the entire thing.

Defense attorneys argued Mike Dippolito was a fan of shows like the Jersey Shore and Cheaters, which lead him to plan a fake murder for hire so he and his wife could get their own reality show.

Dalia Dippolito expected her husband to tell investigators it was a hoax after she was arrested, defense lawyers said.

While the defense might argue that her husband craved the attention of a reality show, Dalia Dippolito was the one with the reality TV experience.  As a teenager, she appeared on an expisode of The Jamie Kennedy Experiment that included a fake hit man.

ABC legal analyst Dan Abrams said that for the defense of reality TV to work, Dalia Dippolito will have to take the stand.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio