Inmate Tried to Hire Hitman to Kill Prosecutor Who Sent Him to Prison, U.S. Attorney Says

An inmate has been charged in a murder-for-hire plot over alleged plans to kill the federal prosecutor and a key witness in a case which saw him sentenced to ten years in a South Carolina prison.

Richard Gilbert, 51, made multiple calls from a contraband cell phone to organise the crime, even sending a $2,000 check from his prison canteen account as a down payment for the murder-for-hire, the South Carolina Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Gilbert was already serving time at a federal prison in Edgefield for trafficking methamphetamine in Bowling Green, Kentucky, when he attempted the botched the murder plot.

The 51-year-old was exposed when he communicated with an undercover task force officer with the FBI who was posing as a hitman, United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy Jr. said.

"You know where to smoke him out, right?" Gilbert asked the undercover FBI agent during one phone call according to transcripts obtained by FitsNews.

Following multiple recorded phone calls, Gilbert sent the undercover officer a check as a down payment for the retaliatory murder-for-hire, according to the indictment.

Gilbert promised more money would come.

The inmate then attempted to mislead prison officials by misrepresenting the payment as being for an "investment firm," a press release from the Department of Justice said.

According to the indictment, Gilbert also drew maps of where he believed the witness from Kentucky lived and provided direction to the undercover officer, posing as the hitman, on how to avoid the detection of nearby surveillance cameras.

Gilbert, who owns several properties in Kentucky, allegedly planned to use the income from two of his rental properties to facilitate the attempted murder-for-hire plot.

He has been charged with murder-for-hire, retaliation against an informant, and money laundering, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Greenville.

The case is currently under investigation by the FBI and the BOP Special Operations Response Team.

"Those who seek violent retribution on law enforcement and individuals who assist law enforcement will be held accountable," McCoy said.

"Violence is a plague on our society that can only be cured with the faithful commitment of dedicated law enforcement officers and prosecutors. We must remember that they put their lives on the line every day to ensure the laws of our society are applied."

Newsweek has reached out to the South Carolina Attorney's Office and the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office for comment.

Richard Gilbert
Richard Gilbert, has been charged in a murder-for-hire plot against the federal prosecutor and a key witness from a case where he was jailed for trafficking methamphetamine. Spartanburg County Detention Center