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Justice News

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Former Brookline Man Pleads Guilty to Hiring Someone to Murder Relative in California

PITTSBURGH, Pa – A former resident of Pittsburgh, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of using interstate commerce facilities in connection with a murder for hire, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Brad Lanese, age 52, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Brad Lanese and two associates – identified as C.B and his wife, L.D. - ran a large marijuana grow operation in Northern California. When Lanese and L.D. began having difficulties, Lanese was asked to leave the property. Back in Pittsburgh, Lanese contacted a confidential source for the Drug Enforcement Agency and asked that source to travel with him to Northern California in order to rob C.B. and L.D. of the profits from the marijuana grow operation.

On October 31, 2017, Lanese and the confidential source traveled to California. The next day, Lanese and the confidential source met with "Deeds", a DEA operative acting in an undercover capacity who was to provide firearms and logistical support for the robbery. Lanese told "Deeds" that he no longer wanted to rob C.B., but wanted "Deeds" to murder someone instead. Lanese then hired "Deeds" to kill L.D. by injecting L.D. with a fatal dose of heroin/fentanyl mix in the marijuana fields, and pushing L.D.’s body and car over the cliffs and into the Pacific Ocean. Lanese told "Deeds" that once L.D. was dead, he would be able to return to the marijuana grow operation and pay "Deeds" for the murder.

On November 14, 2017, back in Pittsburgh, Lanese confirmed to "Deeds" that he wanted L.D. to be murdered and agreed to pay $30,000 for the murder.

On December 8, 2017, Lanese was charged via criminal complaint and investigators from the DEA and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police arrested him at his home in Brookline. Lanese was detained pending trial and will continue to be detained pending sentencing.

Judge Bissoon scheduled sentencing for March 13, 2019 at 2:15 p.m. The law provides for a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior record of the defendant.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Lanni is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Drug Enforcement Agency - Pittsburgh Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Pittsburgh Division, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration - Santa Rosa, California Division, conducted the investigation that led to the guilty plea in this case. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California is also assisting in the prosecution of this case.

Violent Crime
Updated October 31, 2018