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Friday, August 31, 2012

Scranton Man Charged with Participating in Murder-for-Hire Scheme



The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a 44-year-old Scranton resident was charged in a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury Tuesday with conspiring with Edward McLaughlin to use a facility of interstate commerce to commit a murder-for-hire and possessing and carrying a firearm in relation to and in furtherance of a crime of violence.

According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the grand jury alleges that Gary Williams and Edward McLaughlin conspired with each other to kill McLaughlin’s ex-wife. McLaughlin was charged in the original indictment on July 17, 2012.

The superseding indictment alleges that McLaughlin in 2011 and 2012 solicited Williams to kill McLaughlin’s ex-wife and shipped a Mauser rifle from Florida to Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Williams to use to commit the murder. The superseding indictment alleges that McLaughlin communicated with Williams by letters and telephone calls and on one occasion traveled to meet Williams to help him to more accurately fire the rifle intended to be used to kill McLaughlin’s ex-wife.

The charges against Williams and McLaughlin resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Scranton Police Department.

Williams and McLaughlin each face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, and up to life in prison, if convicted of using a firearm in connection to a crime of violence and up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the murder-for-hire scheme. McLaughlin faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of solicitation to commit murder.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa.

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An indictment and criminal information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proved the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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