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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Solon man charged in murder-for-hire plot

A Solon man was charged for his role in murder-for-hire plot, said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Office.

Dennis A. Totarella, 65, was charged via criminal information with one count of use of an interstate communication facility to commit murder for hire.

Totarella, working with James Martino, used cellular telephones and Internet websites as part of a plot to murder someone in exchange for $40,000. This took place between January and June 2013, according to the information.

Martino, 65, of Highland Heights, was indicted last month on one count of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire and one count of financing extortionate extensions of credit. He has pleaded not guilty and his case is pending.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Duncan Brown and M. Kendra Klump following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the dourt after a review of factors unique to the case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated January 8, 2016