Murder for hire never looks as cool as it does in the movies, but movies are the only frame of reference average criminals have to go on. Consequently, real-life cases of people trying to hire hit men end up getting bungled so zanily they're closer to National Lampoon's The Day of the Jackal than The Professional.
#6. Woman Mistakes Cheese for Cocaine and Pays a Man to Kill a Houseful of People and Steal It
Jessica Sandy Booth, an 18-year-old aspiring model, needed to raise a quick $7,900 to pay her prospective modeling agency, a sentence that seems to suggest that Jessica is not the only criminal in this story. Luckily for Jessica, she'd recently seen a huge pile of cocaine sitting in a neighbor's house (how she came upon this discovery is never explained). She concocted a plan to steal the drugs and sell them to raise the money she needed to become the next featured "excited teen" in some T.J. Maxx commercial.
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The free hats would easily help her recoup her investment.
Unfortunately, the house was owned by four grown men, so Jessica figured the robbery would go much smoother if she hired someone to murder them all beforehand.
So Jessica sniffed out the hardest, most badass assassin she could find and laid a careful set of instructions on him -- he was to bust into the house, kill the four men, and swipe the cocaine. Also, she emphasized that if there were any children in the house old enough to testify (meaning "anything but infants in a crib"), he should probably kill them, too. To recap, she wanted to corpsify four clueless guys and any children in their immediate vicinity so she could pay for a modeling agency to represent her.
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She could have saved so many steps by just killing her audition rivals, instead.
Thankfully, the hit man in question was an undercover police officer.
Normally, an undercover cop in this situation would arrest the person the moment the murder was contracted and money exchanged hands, but Jessica didn't actually have any money to give him. She intended to pay him after the fact, with money from hawking the bloody pile of stolen cocaine. Since he couldn't offer to kill the men for free (at least not with a straight face), the cop gave her a pair of disabled handguns and told her to do the deed herself.
Jessica accepted the offer without batting an eyelash, presumably thinking that this was a totally normal thing that professional assassins would ask a client to do, and she led the undercover officer to the Suburban Cocaine Ranch, armed for bear with her two utterly nonlethal pistols. This was enough to prove intent, and Jessica was sentenced to 15 years in prison for both conspiracy and attempted murder.
Charging her as an attempted burglar and a presumed peeping Tom just seemed superfluous.
A thorough search of the house revealed the source of Jessica's confusion: a block of queso fresco, the crumbly white Mexican cheese found sprinkled deliciously inside many enchiladas and quesadillas. Jessica, demonstrating yet another stroke of her ageless wisdom, had apparently mistaken it for Bolivian Marching Powder because she wasn't quite sure how cocaine is normally ingested.
Apparently she was too shy to ask literally any other person in the modeling business, who could have told her in a skipped heartbeat.
#5. Porn Shop Owner Pays His Janitor to Kill His Wife, but She Strangles Him Instead
A porn shop owner named Michael Kuhnhausen decided to offer his custodian, Ed Haffey, $50,000 to kill his wife, Susan, because he was apparently dazzled by Ed's ability to assassinate gentleman's glue from the floors of the private viewing booths.
Or he was just looking for a guy who already owned gloves.
The couple was estranged at the time, living in separate houses, so Michael gave Ed the codes to get through Susan's security system. Ed dutifully committed the codes to memory and bought a day planner to schedule the murder, with a note including Mike's name and phone number, for no conceivable reason other than to assist police in their inevitable investigation. He waited in Susan's house for the unsuspecting nurse to return home, and when she walked through the door, he attacked her with a claw hammer.
Tactfully put, Susan was not a small woman, and after Ed hit her in the face with the hammer, she grabbed it away from him and wrestled him to the ground. They fought for several minutes until she managed to get Ed in a chokehold and actually offered to call an ambulance for him if he would agree to stop. Ed had no intention of clocking back into the porn shop with a black eye and no check, so he tried to buck Susan off and proceed with his scheduled murdering. Susan tightened her hold in response, and choked the witless spank-shop janitor to death.
Unlike most choking he'd seen, it was neither auto nor erotic.
When the police arrived on the scene, they initially thought Ed was just a random intruder stricken with hammer madness, though they were puzzled how he'd managed to get past the security system. However, when they found Ed's day planner in the backpack he had brought with him to the scene of the impending murder (the one with Mike's name and number written all over it), the pieces fell into place. Mike was forced to pay Susan $1 million for emotional distress and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Susan presumably went on to be the inspiration for Pam Poovey on FX's Archer.
#4. Man Pretends to Be a Hitman to Extort Victims
Las Vegas poker dealer Essam Ahmed Eid had absolutely no background in contract killing beyond having a vaguely sinister mustache, but that didn't stop him from creating HitmanForHire.net, a useful hub for professional murderers to upload their resumes and connect with potential clients. It isn't clear whether the site saw any traffic from for-realsies assassins, but people began posting job opportunities, offering to buy deaths for sums of money too large for Eid to ignore (including a fifth-grade girl who needed a classmate of hers clipped immediately). So he did what any self-respecting businessman would do and began answering the ads himself.
"Single hit men in your area looking to chat"? Sounds legit.
He turned to Google to look up some basic hit man-related information, like how to make a silencer out of old toilet parts and how to cook his own Ricin powder, in order to sell his image. But Eid didn't actually kill anyone -- no, he merely approached each target and told them he was going to kill them, a plan so monumentally genius that only a person looking to double the amount of material witnesses at their eventual trial could have thought it up.
So it was that Eid showed up in a sports car, dressed like Johnny Cash's stylist, at a woman's place of business and politely informed her that he had just been paid thousands of dollars to erase her from the planet. But he was feeling magnanimous, and would let her live if she could come up with enough money to buy out his contract. Eid gave her a deadline of three days and helpfully left his real name and contact information, because hit men work on the honor system.
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If she squealed on him, he planned to slip Ricin into her cigarettes.
Needless to say, Eid pulled this stunt exactly one time before the FBI got called on his ass, so he fled to Ireland, where he immediately tried it again. Irish authorities arrested him before he was able to jump to yet another country and try his scheme a third time, because "learning" is just a fancy word for "quitting."