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Press Release

Federal Prisoner Who Tried to Hire a Hitman to Kill Two People Sentenced to 20 More Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Wanted an Undercover ATF Agent to Murder Two People and Asked That the Murders be Recorded

A man who was serving a fifteen-year federal prison sentence when he tried to hire a “hitman” to murder two people in Northeast Iowa was sentenced today to 20 years in federal prison.

Jason Harriman, age 45, formerly of Traer and Independence, Iowa, received the prison term after a January 29, 2019, jury verdict finding him guilty of two counts of murder-for-hire.

The evidence at trial showed that in 2011, Harriman was sentenced to serve fifteen years in federal prison for unlawfully possessing a gun and ammunition.  While in federal prison in Arkansas, Harriman made multiple phone calls and sent multiple emails to an individual he thought was a hired killer, but was actually an undercover agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.  After meeting with the “hitman” in person in the prison, Harriman signed a contract calling for the murders of two people who were living in Northeast Iowa.  Harriman agreed to pay the “hitman” $21,000 and had already given the “hitman” a 1969 Dodge Charger as a down payment.  During a later phone conversation with the undercover agent, Harriman asked the agent to photograph and record the murders, so that Harriman could watch the recordings after he got out of prison.

Harriman was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Harriman was sentenced to 240 months’ imprisonment, which was ordered to run consecutively to his prior federal sentence.  He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Harriman is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Anthony Morfitt and Kyndra Lundquist and investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Bureau of Prisons Special Investigative Service. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 18-CR_2033.

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Updated July 29, 2019

Violent Crime