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Press Release

Jury Finds Iowa Man Guilty of Two Counts of Murder-for-Hire

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
While in Federal Prison, Man Tried to Hire an Undercover ATF Agent to Murder Two People

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 convicted by a jury today after a six-day trial in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Jason Harriman, age 44, formerly of Traer and Independence, Iowa, was convicted of two counts of murder-for-hire.  The verdict was returned this afternoon following about four hours of jury deliberations.

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.    

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Harriman remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Harriman faces a possible maximum sentence of twenty years’ imprisonment, a $500,000 fine, and six years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Anthony Morfitt and Kyndra Lundquist and was 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-LRR.

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Updated January 31, 2019

Violent Crime