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Press Release

Philadelphia Man Found Guilty by Jury on Murder-For-Hire Charges; Attempted Homicide in Southwest Philadelphia Thwarted

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Darnell Jackson, a/k/a “Major Change,” 51, of Philadelphia, PA was convicted at trial of federal charges of murder-for-hire and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.

The defendant orchestrated a murder-for-hire plot which stemmed from an ongoing state drug trafficking investigation. On Monday, July 19, 2021, and in the days immediately following, Jackson communicated with an individual via cell phone calls and text messages in an effort to arrange the killing of a different individual (the intended victim), sending a photo of the intended victim and indicating that he was willing to pay $5,000 to someone to commit the murder. Once the individual reported to the defendant that he had located the intended victim, they allegedly agreed that the killing would occur on the evening of Wednesday, July 21st.

That same evening, the individual called Jackson to report that the intended victim had been killed, but this was actually false. In response, the defendant replied that he was on his way to meet the individual in order to pay him for carrying out the murder. A few minutes later, Jackson was stopped by law enforcement while driving a vehicle in the vicinity of 65th Street & Guyer Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia. He was found in possession of a Glock-style Personally Manufactured Firearm (PMF or “ghost gun”) loaded with 16 live rounds of ammunition, and nowhere near the amount of $5,000. The defendant was immediately arrested and taken into custody pursuant to a Criminal Complaint.

“Every day, members of law enforcement agencies at all levels work tirelessly to prevent violent events from occurring in our city,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “In this case, the work of the FBI and the Philadelphia Department of Police ensured the swift arrest and filing of a Criminal Complaint that stopped Darnell Jackson en route to an attempted murder plot.

“Darnell Jackson not only wanted his intended target dead, he was open to killing others in the process,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Given his lack of respect for human life, he belongs behind bars and that’s exactly where the jury’s verdict today will keep him. The FBI and Philadelphia Police Department are committed to working together and bringing all our resources to bear, to take violent criminals like Jackson off the street for the safety of all Philadelphians.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Philadelphia Field Office and the Philadelphia Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Justin Ashenfelter.

Updated February 28, 2023

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