News and Press Releases

Kansas man charged in murder-for-hire scheme

May 14, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Basehor, Kan., man has been charged in federal court with attempting to pay a hit man $1,800 to murder his wife.

Lee D. Smith, 37, of Basehor, was charged in a federal criminal complaint that was filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., on Friday, May 11, 2012. Smith, who will have his initial court appearance today, remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, law enforcement officers were contacted on May 9, 2012, by a confidential informant, who stated that Smith contacted him and that Smith was willing to pay someone to kill his wife. On that day, the informant told police officers, Smith drove him to his wife’s place of employment in Overland Park, Kan. Smith allegedly showed the informant where his wife usually parks her car and provided other details to help him identify her.

The informant, acting like a hit man, called Smith on Friday, May 11, 2012, and told Smith that he had Smith’s wife and daughter, the affidavit says. Smith allegedly told the informant to let his daughter go and to continue as planned with killing his wife. The agreed upon price was $1,800. The informant made another telephone call to Smith later, the affidavit says, telling him that his daughter had been dropped off and that his wife was dead. Smith and the informant allegedly agreed to meet at a grocery store in the afternoon so that he could be paid.

Smith was contacted by police officers, the affidavit says, who told him to come to police headquarters regarding his daughter being found. When Smith arrived at police headquarters, he was questioned and arrested.

Ketchmark cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney D. Michael Green. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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