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Press Release

Culpeper Woman Pleads Guilty to Dark Web Murder-For-Hire Plot

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A Culpeper, Virginia woman, who went online in an attempt to hire a hitman using bitcoin, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court.

Annie Nicole Ritenour, 27, pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire.

According to court documents, in 2021 Ritenour accessed a website on the dark web whose advertisements boasted the ability to “kill any person you want as long as it is not a president or very important person that is guarded by the military.”

On June 26, 2021, Ritenour set-up an account with the website and placed an “order” for murder-for-hire services. The order was titled, “shoot and get away.” With her order, Ritenour included a picture of the intended victim, his workplace address, and his work hours. She also included the following instructions:

I am just looking for a simple quick job. The address of the person will be best place to make the target, as it is his workplace. He works 6am to 3 pm Monday through Friday….

Ritenour also included a description of the victim’s vehicle and license plate number. After placing the order, Ritenour made three separate payments via Bitcoin to the website’s “escrow account” totaling $3,200. She was arrested before the balance of payment could be made.

At sentencing, Ritenour faces 36 to 87 months in prison.

United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh and Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Richmond Division, made the announcement.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald M. Huber is prosecuting the case for the United States.

Updated June 1, 2023