View Full Version : Law Enforcement Faking Being a Hitman

09-17-2012, 11:48 PM
I have a plot point that depends on what cops really do. I have a husband who finds out from LE that his wife has hired a hitman for him. It's a sting, though, where LE is playing along until they have enough evidence against the wife.

When do the cops notify the husband compared to when the wife has gotten in touch with the (fake) hitman? After the first inkling, or after they've made sure she's serious? Later still?

Would the husband be allowed to be away from the cops after he's been told? Or would he be completely under watch the entire time until she is arrested?

Thank you for any help!

Drachen Jager
09-18-2012, 02:30 AM
I would think they'd try to close the deal on the first meeting. Depends on jurisdiction, but my understanding is that she's guilty as soon as money (or other payment) changes hands.

If they didn't close the deal on the first meeting and they thought there was reason to believe the husband's life was in jeopardy (ie. there was any hint she might try another hitman, do the job herself etc.) they would be obliged to contact the husband immediately. If they did not feel the husband's life was in jeopardy they might wait, though again, it would come down to jurisdiction, departmental policy and the cops themselves exactly where on that curve the judgement call is made.

L.C. Blackwell
09-18-2012, 11:46 AM
Like Drachen, my assumption would be that they'd make it a point to get payment from her/arrest her ASAP, then notify him. If she's serious about killing him, she'll come across with the money quickly. Even a "deposit" would be adequate grounds for arrest.

09-18-2012, 05:40 PM
Locally, the few cases like this have been one-shot deals. Undercover meets with wife, gets details and a down payment, cash or jewelry in most cases, and the arrest is made.

But you can write in extenuating circumstances. The wife mentions she hired another guy who hasn't come through yet, or maybe the contact is made by an intermediary, her girlfriend, hair dresser, bartender or brother.


09-18-2012, 10:26 PM
I'm writing it based on a few true-crime cases I've seen, where the cops go so far as to have the targeted person get in makeup and play dead for a photo! The cops record the spouse's reaction to the photo proof to show that he/she wouldn't have backed out.

That takes more days, though, clearly. That's good for my plot, but I need the husband to be able to slip away from law enforcement and do his own thing ;)

Do y'all think it could be believable that LE think he's terrified and following their lead completely, and then he really gives them the slip to see her? I really need him to break away from them if at all possible.

09-18-2012, 10:38 PM
This might help. I've been following this case for a while now.


James D. Macdonald
09-18-2012, 11:22 PM
I expect that the cops wouldn't tell the husband (until after the arrest) if there's any chance that he might tell his wife "The cops are on to you."

09-18-2012, 11:26 PM
Out of interest, when they catch people at this sort of thing, the average fee for the 'hitman' is $12,700 Australian. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contract_killing)

09-18-2012, 11:28 PM
I saw one true crime story where the cop talked to the wife on the phone and met her twice before the husband was told and she was arrested. They were pretty sure she was only looking into this one hitman and so he was not at risk.

09-18-2012, 11:41 PM
Oh, good stuff, y'all! Good for my plot, anyway. Thank you!

Now I have a couple of directions I can go that make me very excited :D

09-19-2012, 12:04 AM
Umm... the police perspective.

- Safety first. Remember here, you (the police) are in possession of information that someone wants to kill someone and is desperate enough to hire someone. You don't let it go forward if you think the wife may just off him without waiting for your UC.

- Don't waste your time if you are going to screw it up. You can't depend on the husband to play a role in his own almost murder. Telling him will definitley change his behavior and probably make for a botched case.

- Taking the above into account, you design a scenario that moves quickly. Most cases are going to demand a significant step in "furtherance" by the wife to prove the police didn't put her up to it. It can be supplying the weapon, or going and getting a down payment, or making reservations for that secluded cabin in the woods... all of which are captured in your meeting with her pre-arrest.

So, most of the time, you notify him when you have made your case. That can be pre-arrest, and often is. You generally want to interview him and get his take on things before you swoop down and snatch her up, but you always have you case made already and generally an arrest warrant in hand.

Hope that helps

09-19-2012, 11:57 PM
Three ways the husband's behaviour might change:
1) he might act jittery and make her suspicious that LE is on to her.
2) he might flat-out say "LE is on to you!"
3) he might get a gun and try to kill her first.

So, as others have said, best to make it quick, and tell him as little as possible, as late as possible.