Cedar City man hires contract killer, receives New York prison sentence

Apr 5, 2024, 7:58 PM


FILE (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for UNITAS)

(Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for UNITAS)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Cedar City man is behind bars after spending $16,000 to arrange for the contract killing of two New York residents, resulting in a federal investigation and seven-year prison sentence.

Christopher Pence, 43, was sentenced in the Northern District of New York on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to “using the internet to solicit and pay for the murders of two (New York) residents,” according to a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of New York.

In a document filed to the court, Pence admitted that between July 16 and Aug. 9, 2021, Pence used a web browser connected to the “darknet” in Cedar City to access a website in order to arrange the contract killings. Through the website, Pence arranged for the murder of the two victims “in exchange for approximately $16,000 worth of Bitcoin.”

In his instructions to the believed killers, Pence said to “make the murder look like an accident,” as well requesting that “care be taken not to harm any of the children in the care of the victims,” according to the document.

The intended victims were unharmed, and Pence was arrested on Oct. 27, 2021, by the FBI and admitted to soliciting the murders due to the “fraught relationship between his family and the victims,” according to a statement from the attorney’s office.

 Pence and his attorneys have filed an appeal in the Northern District to potentially reduce his sentence on Thursday.

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Cedar City man hires contract killer, receives New York prison sentence