Young Lawyer Charged in Murder-for-Hire Plot
Attorney Jason Smiekel was arrested after he was caught on both audio and video paying an undercover federal agent $7,000 in cash to kill the ex-husband of his client-turned-girlfriend, who he also happened to be representing in the pair's divorce.
Based in Algonquin, Illinois, the 29-year-old reportedly wanted the ex-husband dead prior to an upcoming court hearing, believing that the man was going to reveal information that could possibly ruin his career.
This was not the first time Jason Smiekel tried to hire a hit man, with the Chicago Tribune reporting that he tried to have the ex-husband killed in February, but the man flaked and took off with $8,000.
This time, he approached an informant associated the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who hooked him up with an undercover agent, who then "agreed" to carry out the hit for $20,000.
The goal was to make the murder look like part of a botched robbery, according to the Tribune.
Though the state could prosecute Smiekel for conspiracy and attempted murder, the federal government has decided to handle the case, choosing to charge him in a federal court with "use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire."
An actual crime, it outlaws the use of interstate commerce (Smiekel used a cell phone) to arrange the exchange of money for murder.
If no injury occurs to the intended target, a defendant can serve up to 10 years in jail; if an injury occurs, there is a sentence of up to 20 years; and if the murder occurs, a defendant can be sentenced to death.
Because Jason Smiekel failed to harm his girlfriend's ex-husband, his punishment for this murder-for-hire scheme will cap out at 10 years.