U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in Toledo returned a one-count indictment charging Scott Allen Renninger, age 52, of Uniontown with use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.
“This defendant allegedly went to great lengths to organize, pay for and attempt a murder-for-hire plot,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “I am thankful for the hard work of the FBI and the investigators in this case who worked tirelessly to protect the victim and ensure that this defendant would not be able to enact this plot.”
"The FBI commends the individual(s) that came forward to report Mr. Renninger's desire to, in his words, make his wife disappear,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith. “Without this vital information, Mrs. Renninger may have very well lost her life. It is imperative that law enforcement and the public continue to work together to ensure the safety of our communities and its citizens."
According to the indictment, in October of 2020, the defendant is accused of offering a confidential source working for the FBI $20,000 in exchange for the killing of his wife, the victim in this case. In June of 2020, the victim filed a Petition for Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order (“DVCPO”) in Domestic Relations Court in Summit County, Ohio. In August of 2020, the victim filed for a divorce from the defendant.
Beginning in October of 2020, the defendant met with a confidential source working with the FBI and allegedly discussed offering money in exchange for the killing of the victim. The defendant is accused of providing the confidential source with a photograph, license plate information and other materials that disclosed the house number and street address of the victim. The indictment states that the defendant and the confidential source had regular contact and frequently discussed the plan to exchange money for the killing of the victim.
In November of 2020, the defendant, the confidential source (CS-1) and a second confidential source (CS-2) met to discuss the murder-for-hire plot, according to the indictment. CS-1 introduced the defendant to CS-2 in a parking lot and the defendant sat in CS-2’s car and stated that they needed to figure out a way to communicate, possibly using burner phones. Later on, the defendant allegedly confirmed his desire to make the victim “disappear” to CS-2.
During a subsequent meeting, CS-2 and the defendant allegedly discussed and agreed upon a price of $20,000 for the murder-for-hire plot. CS-2 and the defendant placed calls to each other using the burner phones. On November 17, 2020, federal authorities announced the arrest of the defendant at his residence without incident. The victim was unharmed.
An indictment 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.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this 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.
This case was investigated by the Cleveland Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian McDonough and Brad Beeson.