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IllinoisJudge Considers Suppressing Evidence in a Darkweb “Murder-for-Hire” Case

New evidence was unveiled during an evidence suppression hearing for an Illinois woman who admitted using a darkweb “murder-for-hire” site to have her former lover’s wife murdered. During the hearing, the court heard the specific details of the defendant’s message to the person she had hired to kill the wife of the man with whom she had been involved.

Tina Jones, 32, had been working at Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois when she and a co-worker had started seeing each other in secret. Her affair partner, reportedly a doctor at the medical facility where she had been working, chose to end his relationship with Jones in late 2017 for unknown reasons. Based on actions later taken by Jones, the man had seemingly made a decision to work on his relationship with his wife. According to Assistant State’s Attorney Demetri Demopoulos and other Illinois government officials, Jones paid almost $11,000 in bitcoin to the fraudulent murder-for-hire site “Costra Nostra” aka the “Cosa Nostra International Network.” The site, like all of the similar sites seen in recent news articles, was a scam operated by the owner of a former murder-for-hire site called “Besa Mafia,” and many others.

Thanks to a well-known researcher of scams on onion services, people working with the CBS program “48 Hours” notified Illinois law enforcement about Jones’ plot to have her romantic rival murdered. According to the Woodridge Police Department, CBS warned them of the attack on April 12, 2018. The information provided to the Woodridge Police Department indicated that in January 2018, Jones had paid for the assassination of her lover’s wife. On April 17, Jones turned herself into the police. The DuPage County State Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced, on April 18, that Jones had been charged with a single count of attempted first degree murder, four counts of the solicitation of murder-for-hire, and two counts of solicitation of murder.

Jones’ attorney convinced Judge George Bakalis to allow Jones’ a release on $250,000 bond and strict conditions including mandatory appearances at the police department, drug tests, and living at her parents’ house. Jones is only allowed back into Illinois for 24 hours prior to every court appearance and must stay away from the victim of the failed assassination plot and the former affair partner. In late October, the woman made one of her first few court appearances. According to the Chicago Tribune, the hearing was an evidence suppression hearing based on Jones’ admission of guilt during an interview where Jones was allegedly prevented from contacting an attorney.

During the hearing, Woodridge Detective Daniel Murray explained that Jones had accessed the murder-for-hire site and paid the $11,000 in bitcoin to the site operator—who had presented himself as a contract killer—before leaving explicit details on how to execute the plan. Jones allegedly instructed the site operator to kill the woman she had identified as the target. She did not want the former lover harmed. The twist came in the specifics of how she wanted the murder to appear to the police and public once the target’s dead body was discovered. According to the detective, Jones asked the “hitman” to make it appear as if the wife had been having an affair of her own. She wanted the circumstances of the murder to match the narrative that the wife had been cheating on her husband.

The court heard several tapes from interviews with the police where Jones admitted hiring someone to kill her former lover’s wife. She detailed her actions to police detectives during an interview where, according to Assistant State Attorney Demetri Demopoulos, Jones could have left the room at any time. About 10 minutes into one of the recordings played for the court, the interview had taken a turn that caused Jones to recognize the implications of all she had told the police. She audibly pointed out that she had implicated herself in the plot and wondered whether or not she needed a lawyer. She continued to talk. During another clip, detectives had read Jones her Miranda rights, indicating that she had a right to stop incriminating herself. “I feel like I probably need a lawyer,” Jones said. However, she signed a waiver and continued to talk to the detectives, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said that her requests for an attorney were too vague and that no suppression of evidence should be ordered by the judge. Judge George Bakalis said that he would consider the motion and would make a decision on November 15.

by: C. Aliens