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Former Fed Med Officer Pleads Guilty in Murder-for-Hire Scheme

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield man plead guilty in federal court on Wednesday, Nov. 13 to hiring someone to kill his wife’s ex-husband.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield man plead guilty in federal court on Wednesday, Nov. 13 to hiring someone to kill his wife’s ex-husband.

According to a statement from U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson, Robert W. Jones, 43, of Springfield, pleaded guilty to using a telephone with the intent that a murder be committed for payment.

Court documents say Jones, a former correctional officer at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, contacted an inmate at the center while he was employed there.  Jones asked the inmate to assist in hiring a hit man to murder his wife’s ex-husband.

Jones was reportedly aware that the inmate had been in a leadership position in a drug-trafficking organization and had connections to individuals who would carry out the scheme.

The inmate, who was cooperating with investigators, met with Jones for 10 to 15 private conversations in March and April 2012.

According to the statement, Jones offered to give the inmate a cell phone to call a hit man, avoiding the possibility of the conversation being recorded if the call were placed on a landline at the prison.

As a part of a routine quarterly personnel shift at the medical center, Jones was moved to a different unit and was therefore unable to meet with the inmate for a period of time.

The inmate later reestablished contact with Jones after being moved to a cell in the same unit that Jones was assigned.

They met again on June 21, 2012, the first day they were in the unit at the same time. They had multiple meetings during July 2012, with Jones standing outside the inmate’s jail cell and speaking to him through an opening in the door.

All the meetings were captured on the unit’s surveillance system.

During one of those meetings, Jones told the inmate that his wife had left him and took all their belongings except the couch, television and bills, and he blamed the ex-husband for his wife’s departure.

The statement says undercover FBI agent posed as a hit man named Chuey, and the inmate gave Jones a telephone number to contact Chuey. Jones contacted Chuey and made arrangements to meet in the food court located inside the Battlefield Mall in Springfield.

At that meeting, Jones told the undercover agent he would pay him $1,500 to murder the ex-husband and provided the undercover agent with a photograph of the man, his home address, and $1,500 in cash.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Jones was arrested.

Under federal statutes, Jones is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
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