Skip to main content
Press Release

Des Plaines Man Sentenced To More Than 17½ Years In Federal Prison For Murder-For-Hire Of Estranged Wife And Her Friends

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A former Des Plaines man who solicited two undercover law enforcement officers to kill his estranged wife and her friends was sentenced today to 17 years and 7 months in federal prison.  The defendant, ZENON GRZEGORCZYK, has been in federal custody since he was arrested and charged in May 2012, following an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  He pleaded guilty this past July in U.S. District Court.

Grzegorczyk, 51, was sentenced to serve 151 months in prison for murder-for-hire, consecutive to 60 months for possession of a firearm while arranging the murders.  He must serve at least 85 percent of his 211-month sentence and there is no parole.

“Other than actually committing the murders, it doesn’t get much more serious than this,” U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo said in imposing the sentence.

Grzegorczyk’s conduct posed a real risk to several potential victims and to the community at large, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennie H. Levin and Matthew M. Schneider argued at sentencing.  Grzegorczyk met with undercover officers on three occasions in April and May 2012 to discuss the murder of his estranged wife and her friends.  Initially, Grzegorczyk met with the officers to discuss the sale and shipment of firearms to Poland when he turned the conversation to murder-for-hire. 

Grzegorczyk told the officers that he wanted the proposed victims to be burned alive and said, “grab them, go some quiet place ― then burn them.  Believe me, I want to see those faces, I want to see those faces ― but can’t”

Later, Grzegorczyk showed the officers several photos of intended victims and said he was willing to pay $5,000 for each person killed.  He then identified the address of his estranged wife’s residence and told the officers that they should conduct surveillance because the intended victims spent time there.  He said the number of victims could change depending on who was present because he did not want any witnesses, and he agreed to pay them a $3,000 deposit for the murders.

At their third meeting, Grzegorczyk gave the officers several additional photos of intended victims and opened a brief case containing $45,000 in cash and a 9mm semi-automatic handgun with two magazines of ammunition.  Grzegorczyk said that he intended to leave for Poland in early June.

The sentence was announced today by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Carl J. Vasilko, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of ATF.  

Updated July 23, 2015