Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated. The Department’s essential law enforcement and national security functions will continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice’s contingency plan for more information.

You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Additional Charges Filed In Murder-For-Hire Case

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that more charges were filed today against two men accused of participating in a murder-for-hire scheme.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, a federal grand jury returned separate superseding indictments against Edward McLaughlin, of Florida and Gary Williams, of Scranton, related to an alleged conspiracy to murder McLaughlin’s ex-wife.

     One superseding indictment charges McLaughlin with conspiracy to commit a murder-for-hire; two counts of solicitation to commit a crime of violence; possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence; unlawfully shipping a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon; unlawfully transferring a firearm to be used in a violent crime; unlawfully shipping a firearm to commit a felony offense; and unlawfully transporting a firearm in interstate commerce.

     The second indictment charges Williams with conspiracy to commit a murder-for-hire; possessing a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime; receiving a firearm with the intent to commit a felony offense; unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon; and attempting to tamper with a witness.

     McLaughlin was originally indicted in July 2012. The charges resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Scranton Police Department. The cases are assigned to Senior U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo who ordered that the defendants be charged separately.

     The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa.

     Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

     A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

     In these particular cases, both defendants face a mandatory minimum of five years imprisonment. The maximum penalty under the federal statute is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

Updated April 9, 2015