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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Former Amherst Woman Sentenced For Her Role In Plot To Murder Ex-Husband

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.-Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Debra Arno, 58, formerly of Amherst, NY, who was convicted of solicitation of interstate murder for hire, was sentenced to time served (21 months) by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi, who handled the case, stated that on May 26, 2015, the Kenmore Police Department received a tip about a murder for hire plan. On May 27, 2015, Kenmore Police, with the assistance of the East Aurora Police Department, identified the victims, who included Arno’s ex-husband and his current wife, and made them aware of the potential murder-for-hire plot.

On May 28, 2015, a search warrant was executed at the residence of co-defendant Lauren Frye, the person solicited by Arno to carry out the murders. Officers seized a number of items including multiple letters from Arno to Frye, photos of the intended victims, a diagram of their residence, and a schedule of their activities. In one letter written by Arno to Frye, Arno stated “I am enclosing $6000. I will give you an additional $14,000 upon completion. A total of $20,000. A man, his description and address enclosed, is to be eliminated or hurt. He lives with 2 other people. Both expendable (if there is an accident).”

During the search of Frye’s residence, officers also seized two cellular telephones and three shotguns. The cellular telephones revealed extensive text messaging between Arno and Frye. Arno repeatedly implored Frye to get the murder done.

Frye was also previously convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Today’s sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Village of Kenmore Police Department, under the direction of Chief Peter Breitnauer; the East Aurora Police Department, under the direction of Chief Ronald Krowka; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen.

Updated March 9, 2017