Man Accused of Paying Hitman $20,000 in Bitcoin to Murder His Child Abuse Victim

A New Jersey man is accused of seeking to hire a hitman on the dark web in order to kill a boy he had abused.

John Michael Musbach, 31, of Haddonfield, has been charged with one count of murder-for-hire after he was previously investigated for child pornography-related offenses, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a statement.

In the summer of 2015, Musbach began talking with a boy who was aged 13 at the time via an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) website. During these online conversations, Musbach requested sexually explicit images and videos of the boy and sent him films and photographs of himself.

The victim's parents discovered the conversations between the boy and Musbach in September 2015 and contacted law enforcement in New York, where the 13-year-old lived.

Upon identifying Musbach as a resident of Atlantic County in New Jersey, the law enforcement officers contacted the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office (ACPO), who took over the investigation. The suspect was eventually arrested on March 31, 2016.

Musbach admitted to requesting and receiving sexually explicit images and videos from the victim while knowing he was 13-years-old.

In October 2017, Musbach pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child by sexual contact. He was handed a two-year suspended sentence with parole supervision for life in February 2018.

In 2019, an informant provided agents from Homeland Security Investigations in St. Paul, Minnesota, information alleging Musbach had arranged a murder-for-hire from a site on the dark web.

According to a criminal complaint, in May 2016—weeks after his child pornography arrest—Musbach had asked the site to arrange a handgun for him before suggesting he could "place a hit order."

Musbach also allegedly revealed that the target would be 14 and asked "is that an acceptable age or too young?"

Musbach is accused of then hiring a hitman from the site and agreed to pay 40 bitcoin ($20,000) for the boy to be killed.

Conversations between Musbach and the website's admin show the suspect repeatedly asking if the hit will still be carried out. The admin told Musbach that the hitman who had been originally hired "got arrested for cocaine possession while he was near the place," but another could be hired for an additional $5,000.

After being unable to pay the additional $5,000, Musbach asked for his money to be refunded.

The website's administrator then revealed: "I am sorry to disappoint you. Unfortunately, our site is a scam, and we pass customer and target information to law enforcement."

Authorities were able to identify via Musbach several means, including linking him to the same screen name he used to communicate with the website.

Agents also traced the flow of money from his account to the purchase of Bitcoin used to pay for the hitman.

Musbach faces up to 10 years in jail if found guilty of the charge against him.

A pile of Bitcoins are shown in a shop on April 26, 2013 in Sandy, Utah. A New Jersey man is accused of seeking to hire a hitman on the dark web in order to kill a boy he had abused. George Frey/Getty