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Press Release

Colorado Man Sentenced To Life In Federal Prison For Murder-For-Hire And Enticing 13-Year-Old For Sex

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Paul G. Byron today sentenced Danny James McLaughlin (59, Littleton, CO) to life in federal prison for using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire and for enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity. The court also ordered McLaughlin to pay a $300,000 fine.

McLaughlin had pleaded guilty on October 31, 2019.

According to court documents, between April 26 and May 17, 2019, McLaughlin communicated online with someone whom he believed was the father of a 13-year-old girl. Unbeknownst to McLaughlin, the “father” was an undercover federal agent. McLaughlin suggested that the undercover agent take a father-daughter trip to Colorado, where McLaughlin lived, so he could kidnap and rape the child. McLaughlin detailed his intentions to hold the teenager captive, subject her to physical and sexual torture, and then kill her.

McLaughlin indicated that he would be willing to kidnap and hold the daughter if the undercover agent would return the favor by killing McLaughlin’s wife. McLaughlin informed the agent of a weekly meeting that his wife attended, along with the time and location. He also suggested a place where the agent could dump his wife’s body, and where he could purchase chloroform to commit the murder. 

On May 17, 2019, McLaughlin met with the undercover agent at a hotel in Colorado. He reaffirmed his intention to kidnap and sexually abuse the notional 13-year-old daughter and gave the agent $100 as a deposit toward the $2,600 sum he had agreed to pay for the murder-for-hire.

“The sentencing of McLaughlin is a clear message to criminals there is no safe haven from law enforcement,” said HSI Orlando Assistant Special in Charge David J. Pezzutti. “Without the hard work and strong partnerships between HSI Orlando, HSI Denver and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, this criminal would have murdered his wife and sexually exploited a child.”

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, and the Arapahoe County (Colorado) Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Emily C. L. Chang and Ilianys Rivera Miranda.

Updated February 6, 2020

Project Safe Childhood
Violent Crime