Investigators said they've arrested two people suspected of a murder for hire plot aimed at someone they believed had “ratted” on the alleged drug dealing activities of one of the individuals.
According to the Office of Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan, Christopher Pickard, 29 and Latrice Harrington, 27, both of State College, were arrested and charged with attempting to have a man killed.
The incident followed Pickard’s Aug. 3 arrest, in which, police said, he was apprehended on drug-related charges after he was pulled over in Charlestown Township, in Chester County, and found with 813 baggies of, what police said, was heroin in his car.
A passenger that was in the vehicle at that time, police said, soon became a target of Pickard and Harrington’s murder for hire scheme.
After his arrest, while Pickard was held in Chester County Prison, court documents note that Pickard began to suspect that the passenger in his car that night had begun working with police and, law enforcement officials learned that he has been trying to solicit a hitman to kill the man – who police did not identify.
Acting on this information, law enforcement officials said, Pickard was provided with a phone number for a willing “hitman,” that was, actually, an undercover police officer.
According to police, Pickard offered “$2,000 cash and an ounce of the dog food” – which, police claim was a code for heroin – to the undercover officer in order to have the targeted man killed. For her part, police said, Harrington worked to funnel communication between Pickard and the “hitman.”
She also, police said, picked up two firearms – a sawed-off shotgun and a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol that were intended to be used in the murder.
Police said the pair also worked to provide the “hitman” with photos of the intended victim through the social media sites: Facebook and Snapchat. The defendants also identified the targeted man’s home, gave the “hitman” a good time of day for the murder and they paid the undercover officer a $300 down payment to ensure the job was done, police said.
However, police said, the intended target was, in fact, not cooperating with the police in the investigation.
According to court documents, the undercover officer told Harrington, "He's dead... The dude's gone and he's not breathing and he's out of the state many states away."
To which, the documents claim, Harrington replied, "Alright that's always good news, thank you so much for that."
"That thing is done, you don't have to worry about somebody anymore,” she allegedly then told Pickard, court documents claim.
Both Pickard and Harrington have been charged with conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder, weapons charges, and related offenses.