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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

Ghost Email Murders

How does someone hire a killer? In this true crime, two men (brothers-in-law), were shooting guns at trees and targets and talking.

One man continually complained about his soon-to-be ex-wife. He felt irritated about their custody battle over their infant daughter and the excessive amount of child support he had to pay.

Then the man complaining asked his brother-in-law (sister’s husband) to connect him with someone to kill his estranged wife. The sister's husband said he had friends he could talk to (he lied—not because he planned to turn him in to the authorities. He lied to do the job himself).

On their next get-together, the man gave his brother-in-law an envelope with $1,000 in it—a deposit of sorts.

After he made the deposit, the planning began. They communicated with each through a ghost email. Both men had the log-in information to an email account. One man created the first draft email, then the other man logged in, read the draft email and added to it, but didn’t send it—it remained in draft mode. This method of communication continued and neither of them actually emailed the other. When they no longer need to communicate, they deleted the draft email (a.k.a. ghost email).

The men agreed the hitman should use a .9mm handgun. The brother-in-law asked his wife to purchase the handgun for him with the $1,000. She refused. He asked his mother-in-law, who did so for him.

The client (soon to be criminal) provided his brother-in-law with a map to his 29-year-old ex-wife’s home and a photo of her. He told him the ideal time to kill her when she’d be alone. Their daughter would be with the client on a visitation. The wife’s seven-year-old son and her brother wouldn’t be home, and she had no pets.

First, he cut the phone line to her home. Then he accessed the garage through an unlocked door and tripped a breaker in the circuit panel. When the wife entered the garage from inside the home, her son had followed her. The gunman forced them into the home. When a dog appeared in the room, surprising the gunman, he shot and killed the dog. The woman screamed. He shot and killed her.

The woman’s 25-year-old brother who’d been showering upstairs heard a commotion and went to see what was going on. The gunman shot him twice, but he survived. The gunman tried to coax the boy to run away, he sat on the sofa in shock and didn’t move. He shot and killed the boy as well.

His final assignment was to set the home on fire. The ex-husband promised the hitman a final payment of $10,000. Before the hitman returned to his area and called the ex-husband, the authorities had already contacted him about his ex-wife’s death.

The victim’s brother didn’t know who had shot him and the case went cold for 14 years.

Reportedly, the local authorities received new information on the case, which resulted in two arrests—the ex-husband and the gunman.

Rather than go to trial, the gunman, now divorced, confessed. So far, the authorities don’t have enough evidence against the ex-husband, so he remains free for now.

At the sentencing hearing, the judge said to the shooter,

“These actions were so evil and so egregious, and the loss so incalculable. I’ve never seen anything as bad, as evil, and as disgusting as these actions were.”

Then he sentenced the gunman to four life sentences without the possibility of parole plus 63 additional years.

Source: Circuit Court, Law & Crime, Pharos Tribune, 3WTKR Northeast NC

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