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Press Release

Utah Man Charged with Murder-for-Hire Scheme

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

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Christopher Pence, age 41, of Cedar City, Utah, was indicted last week for using the Internet to solicit and pay for the murders of two individuals in Rensselaer County.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

According to the indictment and a previously filed criminal complaint, between July 16 and August 9, 2021, Pence used a computer at his residence in Utah to connect to a darknet website that offered the services of “hitmen,” and paid approximately $16,000 in Bitcoin for the murder of two individuals residing in Rensselaer County. The intended victims were not harmed.

The charges in the complaint and indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The charge filed against Pence carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

Pence was arrested in Utah on October 27.  A magistrate judge in Utah ordered him detained and transferred in custody to the Northern District of New York.  His arraignment in Albany federal court will take place at a later date.  

This case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emmet J. O’Hanlon.

Updated November 12, 2021

Violent Crime