A Cape Coral man is accused of plotting the murder of his ex-wife with another person, promising a $50,000 salaried job as compensation.
Edward McLaughlin, 63, of 4017 Palm Tree Blvd., Apt. 204, was picked up June 21 on a federal warrant for conspiracy to use the mail and a facility of interstate commerce to commit a murder for hire, according to officials.
He had an initial appearance with U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas Frazier, of the Middle District of Florida, then was turned over to the U.S. Marshals.
"This is an FBI Philadelphia case," FBI Special Agent Dave Couvertier, the spokesman for the agency's Tampa field office, reported in an e-mail.
According to records from the U.S. Middle District of Florida, McLaughlin conspired with Gary Williams between February 2011 and April and came up with a plan to have Williams kill his ex-wife at her Pennsylvania residence.
McLaughlin reportedly mailed a rifle and bullets to Williams to use.
"There's no information that I can provide right at this time," FBI Special Agent JJ Klaver, the spokesman for the Philadelphia field office, said.
Heidi Havens, the spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania, also declined to comment on the case.
According to records, the investigation began when Scranton, Pa., police responded to a home on May 29 for a domestic violence call involving a man, Williams, and a rifle. The caller said Williams had fired a single shot at her.
He was taken into custody at the time and arrested.
At the scene, officers collected several bullets and shell casings.
Days later, the woman told police that the bolt-action Mauser rifle was shipped to her home for Williams to use in a murder-for-hire plot. She said McLaughlin mailed the rifle for Williams to use on McLaughlin's ex-wife.
The two men met in February 2011 while they were incarcerated.
During separate searches of the woman's home, authorities found the rifle, bullets and the box they were mailed in, which was sent from a Cape address. They also located letters to Williams from someone who signed them "OG."
McLaughlin was reportedly known as "OG" - Old Guy or Old Gangster.
According to records, he refers to the gun as "the strudel" and bullets as "raisins" in the letters. McLaughlin provides Williams with an address to mail the strudel to after he has his "fill," and a man "will clean up any crumbs."
"Never leave strudel around your house too long. It may draw flies," one letter reportedly from McLaughlin states.
Authorities tracked the rifle to McLaughlin's brother, who apparently purchased the weapon in 2005. Police also learned that McLaughlin had a restraining order against him, protecting his ex-wife and three children.
During the investigation, McLaughlin's ex-wife reported that McLaughlin attempted to entice her new husband's ex-wife to cooperate with him while he was incarcerated. The woman wrote to the warden about his letters.
She wrote that McLaughlin told her he paid a hit man to kill his ex.
McLaughlin's ex-wife provided copies of the letters.
She also told investigators that McLaughlin told her he tried to hire his brother, the one who bought the Mauser rifle, to kill her. He reportedly said his brother was having financial difficulties and he offered him $5,000.
She also provided copies of letters between the two brothers.
"I hope you kept that pony. If the pony can still do the tricks I suggest you take it to a rodeo in Pennsylvania in September," McLaughlin wrote in one.
In June, McLaughlin reportedly met with his ex-wife's nephew - a police officer - and expressed a desire to shoot his ex if he could. He reportedly stated that he hated her and would do anything to get his children back.
McLaughlin also told the man that he had to pay "some people from the Mafia" to take care of "some things" for him, according to records.
In an interview with investigators, Williams reported that when he met McLaughlin, McLaughlin made various allegations against his ex-wife and said he wanted her killed.
Williams volunteered to commit the murder, but said he did not have a gun.
McLaughlin reportedly told Williams that he had access to a Mauser rifle.
He added that other inmates alleged McLaughlin also solicited them.
According to records, Williams drove out to McLaughlin's ex-wife's home in January or February with the intent of flattening her tires to keep her from attending a court hearing. He said he did not, but he told McLaughlin he did.
Williams said McLaughlin suggested that he commit the murder during the hunting season because gunfire would not be uncommon during that time, and that the shooting could appear to be an accident, according to records.
Williams took the rifle to a shooting range at least twice to test out its accuracy - once reportedly with McLaughlin. He was unable to hit a target 100 and 50 yards away until another shooter aided in adjusting the sight.
He said McLaughlin offered to compensate him with a job, and he believed McLaughlin because he bragged about owning a company worth $30 million.
According to records, Williams told investigators that he never intended to commit the murder, that he wanted to be a friend and provide McLaughlin with a "cooling off period" to "re-think his options and calm his emotions."
He also did not want McLaughlin soliciting another person for the crime.
It was unknown Friday if McLaughlin had legal representation.