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Press Release

Former Florida Man Pleads Guilty To Murder-For-Hire Conspiracy And Related Crimes

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

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a former resident of Cape Coral, Florida, pleaded guilty today to conspiring with a Scranton man to commit a murder-for-hire and committing two related offenses before Senior U.S. District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the defendant, Edward McLaughlin, age 64, admitted to conspiring with Gary Williams to murder McLaughlin’s ex-wife. McLaughlin admitted to offering Williams a job with a company in Florida if he would carry-out the murder, and Williams agreed to do so.

     The conspiracy began when McLaughlin and Williams were cell mates in the Pike County Prison in June 2011, and continued through June 2012. During that time period, McLaughlin shipped a German Mauser rifle and ammunition from Florida to Williams in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to be used to carry-out the murder. McLaughlin and Williams also used the mail and telephones in planning and attempting to carry-out the murder plot.

     McLaughlin pleaded guilty to three crimes related to the interstate murder-for-hire scheme: conspiracy to use interstate facilities to commit a murder-for-hire; carrying and possessing a firearm in relation to and in furtherance of a crime of violence; and unlawfully shipping a firearm and ammunition in interstate commerce as a convicted felon.

     McLaughlin was most recently charged in a third superseding indictment filed in September 2013, as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Scranton Police Department.   

     Judge Caputo scheduled sentencing in the case for January 6, 2014. McLaughlin faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison, a fine of up to $750,000, a maximum term of supervised release of 11 years, and a $300 special assessment.

     Gary Williams, McLaughlin’s co-defendant, was convicted last month of five counts related to the murder-for-hire scheme.

     Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the case. 


Updated April 9, 2015