Tampa Man Found Guilty Of Planning Murder
Tampa, FL - Today, a federal jury found Asieba Thomas (26, Tampa) guilty of murder for hire, possession and attempted possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and a crime of violence. Thomas faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 4, 2012. He was indicted on October 27, 2011.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Thomas was arrested on May 3, 2011, for possession with intent to distribute and distribution of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a public school. While in jail, Thomas contacted another federal defendant and offered to murder his co-defendant to keep him from testifying in the federal case against that defendant. Thomas wanted $40,000 to commit the murder. On June 3, 2011, Thomas was released on bond.
While out on release, Thomas met with the individual and discussed committing the murder. He asked that, instead of all cash, he be paid in part with cocaine. He also asked for a gun to complete the murder. Thomas discussed how he would kill the federal witness, bury the body in the countryside, and how he would disappear after the murder.
On September 7, 2011, Thomas met with the individual two more times. In the first of the two meetings, Thomas asked for, as payment to complete the murder, three quarters of a kilogram of cocaine, a gun, and, after the murder was completed, $20,000 in cash. During the second meeting that day, Thomas went to a location where he accepted the three quarters of kilogram and the gun. Moments later, Thomas was arrested.
On November 22, 2011, Thomas was sentenced to 17 years and 8 months in federal prison for the federal drug violations that resulted in his May 2011 arrest.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Tampa Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo.