SC inmate tried to hire hitman to kill federal prosecutor and key witness, US attorney says

SC inmate tried to hire hitman to kill federal prosecutor and key witness, US attorney says
Officials say Richard Gilbert used a contraband cell phone in prison to talk to a person he thought was a hit man. (Source: Spartanburg County Detention Center)

EDGEFIELD, S.C. (WYFF) - A South Carolina inmate has been charged in a murder-for-hire plot, according to United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy Jr.

Richard Gilbert, who was serving time at the federal prison in Edgefield for trafficking methamphetamine in Bowling Green, Kentucky, sought to hire a hitman to kill the federal prosecutor and a key witness from his Kentucky case, according to an indictment.

The charges stem from an undercover operation during which Gilbert, from a contraband cell phone in prison, communicated with an undercover task force officer with the FBI who was posing as a hitman, according to McCoy.

According to the indictment, following multiple recorded phone calls, Gilbert sent the undercover officer a $2,000 check from his prison canteen account as a down payment for the retaliatory murder-for-hire.

Masking the true purpose of this payment, Gilbert attempted to mislead BOP officials by misrepresenting the payment as being for an “investment firm,” the indictment said.

“Those who seek violent retribution on law enforcement and individuals who assist law enforcement will held accountable,” McCoy said. “Violence is a plague on our society that can only be cured with the faithful commitment of dedicated law enforcement officers and prosecutors. We must remember that they put their lives on the line every day to ensure the laws of our society are applied.”

Gilbert is charged with murder-for-hire, retaliation against an informant, and money laundering.

According to the indictment, Gilbert drew maps of where he believed the witness from Kentucky lived and provided direction to the undercover officer, posing as the hitman, on how to avoid detection by nearby surveillance cameras.

The indictment alleged that Gilbert, who owns several pieces of property in Kentucky, planned to use the income from two of his rental properties to facilitate the attempted murder-for-hire and retaliation plot — and additionally had plans to use the value of his ownership stake in other land to pay for the murder of the federal prosecutor from Kentucky.

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