A Pennsylvania couple has admitted to plotting an elaborate murder-for-hire scheme over Snapchat after the girl’s stepfather caught them in bed together, authorities said.
Pennsylvania State Police arrested a third person in the alleged plot on Thursday, 22-year-old intermediary Annette Kriner, who allegedly handed over contact information for a man who could carry out the crime.
Authorities say Dillian Mikel Weaver, 19, and his 16-year-old girlfriend Angelina Grace Peluso planned to kill Peluso’s stepfather, Howard Blackburn, after he caught the couple in bed together on April 23.
“I just need him gone and no questions asked,” Weaver allegedly told the purported hitman, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by PennLive. “He’s been abusing my girl for 10+ years and her family. And I can’t do shit alone because she doesn’t want to lose me [you know]. And I feel like you’d be able to help.”
Weaver and Peluso were charged last Friday with criminal solicitation to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and criminal use of a communication device after confessing to the unsuccessful plot that was foiled when the hired hitmen went to state police. Kriner was charged with attempted criminal solicitation of first-degree murder and criminal use of a communication facility.
The couple are being held in Lycoming County Prison on $1 million bail each. Kriner is being held at the same location on a $100,00 bail.
According to the arrest affidavit, after Blackburn caught the teenage couple together on the morning of April 23, Peluso falsely told Weaver over Snapchat that her stepfather punched and slapped her. Later, the 16-year-old said her 44-year-old stepfather had also sexually assaulted her twice—a claim she later recanted to police.
Upset about the stepfather, Weaver contacted Kriner and another friend on Snapchat to recruit somebody to kill Blackburn, the affidavit states. The 19-year-old also told his friend that he wanted Blackburn dead due to the alleged abuse of his girlfriend and he needed somebody to kill him.
Kriner told Weaver she knew somebody who could carry out the killing and provided him with the person’s contact information.
The affidavit states Weaver immediately contacted the individual, who has not been identified, and outlined his elaborate plan to have Blackburn killed when he arrived from home. Weaver then sent the man a screenshot of a conversation between him and Kriner going over the details of the plan.
“He gets off work at 5:30 so we’d have to be there before him and get him as soon as he gets out of his truck before he goes inside. We need to cover our faces ... they have cameras there,” Weaver allegedly wrote, adding that, because of the cameras, the hitman should not park near the house.
Weaver added that, after the murder, the hitman would have to “take his body and dispose of him somewhere. So he’s never heard from..or found.”
Agreeing to the plan, the individual initially told the 19-year-old he would perform the hit after waiting to hear from a friend who had access to a gun that would be used and easily disposed of.
“He has access to a gun we can use, can be tossed. I’ll hit you up when I get the details,” the man told Weaver over Snapchat.
Unbeknownst to Weaver, however, the man had immediately gone to authorities on April 23, admitting he initially thought the request was a joke.
On April 24, Weaver messaged the purported hitman on Snapchat again, telling him that Peluso had mentioned that her stepfather had access to a gun and would likely take it out if he felt something suspicious was happening in his home.
The supposed hitman replied to Weaver that the plan was all set, but his friend who owned the gun wanted to meet him in person, the affidavit states. The friend, who was really an undercover trooper, met with Weaver alongside the supposed hitman, who was wearing a recording device.
Rehashing the plan to the two men, Weaver allegedly said he wanted “Howie” shot and “out of the picture,” also reiterating that Peluso wanted her stepfather dead and knew about the plan.
Weaver then told the undercover officer he would contact him after the officer “took care of the body.” The 19-year-old was then immediately taken into custody, the affidavit states.
The affidavit also describes a text message conversation between Weaver and Peluso, where the 19-year-old asked for confirmation from his girlfriend that she was ok with her stepfather “dying.”
Peluso responded, according to police: “Yes baby. I have zero affection for him. We’ve talked about it. I just don’t want to lose you is my concern that’s all.”
In an interview with police after the couple was arrested, Peluso reiterated that sentiment, stating that she was on board with the murderous scheme and wanted her stepfather dead. She admitted, however, “that ultimately she didn’t mean it” and “she just wanted Blackburn hurt,” the affidavit states.
It was not immediately clear if the three individuals had lawyers, but all are expected to have a preliminary hearing on May 4.