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Justice News

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

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Former Florida Man Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Murder-for-hire Conspiracy And Related Firearms Offenses

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a former resident of Cape Coral, Florida, was sentenced today to 20 years in prison by Senior U.S. District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo for conspiring with a Scranton man to commit a murder-for-hire and committing two related firearms offenses.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the defendant, Edward McLaughlin, age 65, previously 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.

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.

The charges against McLaughlin resulted from an investigation  by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Scranton Police Department.   

Judge Caputo also ordered McLaughlin to serve three years on supervised release following his prison sentence, pay a special assessment of $300, and pay $2200 in restitution.

Gary Williams, McLaughlin’s co-defendant, was previously convicted by a jury of five counts related to the murder-for-hire scheme and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa prosecuted the case. 


Updated April 9, 2015