Hiring a killer is never a good idea. Homicide gets complicated quickly, and murder conspiracies rarely have a happy ending. Of course, famous hitmen like Bugsy Siegal and Richard Kuklinski were very successful in the industry. However, many more murderers are not so good at their jobs. When you combine a bumbling assassin with an inept employer, you have a recipe for disaster. Here, we present you with ten murder-for-hire plots that went wrong.
10 Tan Youhui and the Dirty Half-Dozen
Outsourcing is common nowadays. Unfortunately, this often means you don’t get what you pay for. Chinese real estate investor Tan Youhui learned this the hard way back in 2013. The mogul paid hitman Xi Guangan approximately $282,600 to kill a plaintiff in a lawsuit against him named Wei. But instead of completing the job, Xi Guangan outsourced it to another hitman.
The second killer then outsourced it to a third, who outsourced it to a fourth. The fourth killer then hired Ling Xiansi to commit the murder. Instead of killing Wei, Ling Xiansi contacted him for a meeting. The two conspired to fake Wei’s death. They used false photographic evidence to fool Tan Youhui into thinking Wei was dead. Wei then called the police, who launched a full investigation. According to Chinese court records, all six men involved were found guilty and sentenced to prison.
9 The Green Widow and Her 3 Hitmen
Hollywood is known for gory special effects, but murder is not relegated to the movies. In the case of Mary Ellen Samuels, it was very real. Samuels was in the middle of divorce proceedings back in 1988. She ended up paying one James Bernstein to arrange the murder of her soon-to-be ex-husband Robert. Coincidentally, Bernstein was dating Samuels’s daughter at the time.
After Robert died, Samuels inherited around half a million dollars. She spent it lavishly, earning her the nickname the “Green Widow.” The problem? Police began investigating, and Mary Ellen didn’t trust Bernstein not to confess. The solution? She hired two more assassins to kill him. They later testified against her, and Mary Ellen received the death penalty in 1994. Though the court later overturned her death sentence, she will likely never be released from prison.
8 Ramon Sosa’s Undercover Adventure
Texas native Ramon Sosa thought he found love when he married Lulu Dorantes. Unfortunately, she just wanted his money. In 2015, Ramon discovered she had hired a mutual friend to murder him. Instead of carrying out the task, this friend contacted Ramon. The two then began an undercover sting operation.
They secretly recorded Lulu as she arranged a fake murder with a phony assassin. Then, they took all the evidence to the police department. The Houston PD was determined to expose Lulu. They helped Ramon fake his death by staging pictures of his “corpse” inside a makeshift grave. Lulu was sentenced to twenty years in prison, and Ramon can sleep peacefully now.
7 The Daniel Ott Oddity of Ohio
Police were puzzled by the murder of Daniel Ott back in 2006. The small village of Burton Township hadn’t seen a homicide in years, and there seemed to be no motive for the gruesome crime. But after nearly a decade of investigation, the truth finally came out. A contract killer had murdered Ott in a tragic case of mistaken identity. The culprit? One Chad South, the worst hitman in history.
Criminal thug Joe Rosebrook promised South $10,000 to murder a police informant named Daniel Ott. When South and two accomplices arrived at Ott’s home, they quickly realized they had the wrong man. The victim was 31, whereas the target was 69. As a struggle ensued, innocent Ott was killed. He finally received justice in 2016 when a judge sentenced Rosebrook to life in prison.
6 Balenga Kalala’s Killer with a Conscience
Noela Rukundo emigrated from Burundi to Australia in 2004. When she met and married Balenga Kalala, she believed she had found a better life. But all that changed when she was kidnapped by hitmen on a visit back to her homeland in 2015. Who would want to kill the innocent mother of eight? It turned out to be her husband.
Unfortunately for Balenga, his hitmen didn’t have the heart to commit murder. Instead, they sent Noela back to Australia armed with hard evidence of Balenga’s guilt. She arrived home on the day of her own funeral. Her surprised husband believed she was a ghost. He was shocked when he was tried for his crimes and received nine years in prison. To this day, no motive has ever been clear.
5 Bart Whitaker’s Quest for the Cash
Thomas “Bart” Whitaker had everything a kid could ask for. Loving parents, a doting younger brother, and an affluent life. But Bart just wanted his family out of the way so he could inherit their money. He first plotted a murder-for-hire back in 2000. It didn’t work out, but he tried again several times over the years. Bart enlisted acquaintances, school friends, and coworkers to commit the murders. Several people reported his antics to police and family members, but no one ever stepped in.
Bart eventually began faking university enrollment and jobs. He became desperate for money in 2003 and hired his roommate Christopher Brashear to kill his family. But Brashear botched the job, leaving Bart’s father alive. Bart himself fled to Mexico and was captured a year later. He received a death sentence at his trial in Texas, but it was commuted in 2018. Bart is set to live behind bars for the rest of his life. The cherry on top? His father still visits him regularly.
4 David Harris Went from Creative to Convicted
David Harris was once a successful television producer known for the hit British TV series The Bill. Now, he sits in prison for soliciting the murder of his partner, Hazel Allinson. The sordid plot began when Harris fell in love with a younger woman. He hoped to get Hazel out of the way and gain control of her estate.
Beginning in 2016, Harris hired a succession of three unsuccessful hitmen to kill Hazel. The first simply vanished, while the second went straight to the police. The third was an undercover police officer in a sting operation. Harris was found guilty and sentenced to 17 years in prison. He claimed he was only conducting research for an upcoming novel when he was arrested. The “novel” has never been published. We’re sure it would have been trash, anyway.
3 Frank Howard’s Tangled Texas Murder Plot
Frank and Nancy Howard seemed happy. The Texas couple had been married for over three decades when Frank began having an affair. As Frank fell in love with the younger woman, he decided to skip a messy divorce. He would just have his wife killed instead. But Frank’s hitmen were more like conmen. He paid over $2 million to the clan of criminals over a two-year span. Dozens of their friends and relatives got in on the money.
Frank never seemed to realize that his would-be assassins were stringing him along. He embezzled over $30 million from his employer to fund the family’s drug-fueled antics and set his mistress up with a lavish lifestyle. But it all came crashing down when an attempt was actually made on Nancy’s life. She survived the attack and eventually had her day in court. Frank ended up with a life sentence, no mistress, and the divorce he’d always dreaded.
2 Jennifer Pan Lands in Hot Water
Jennifer Pan was raised by two hardworking Vietnamese immigrants. They expected their daughter to excel on every level. At first glance, it appeared she was. She got a scholarship to the University of Toronto and moved on to a respectable career. But it all unraveled when her parents discovered that her entire life was a lie. In reality, she had no degree, no job, and no prospects. The only way to get out of this mess? Homicide.
Pan’s longtime boyfriend, Daniel Wong, helped plan the attack. The two promised to pay some friends for her parents’ murder. They staged the crime to look like a home invasion, but Pan’s father survived. He testified for the prosecution, helping convict Pan and four accomplices of murder. Today, she serves life in prison while her father walks free.
1 Michelle Gaiser’s Twisted Love Triangle
They say love hurts. If you’re in love with Michelle Gaiser, it hurts bad. In 2008, Gaiser began an affair with a married lawyer named Jeffrey Stern. But things got out of hand when jealous Gaiser put out a hit on Jeffrey’s wife, Yvonne. Fortunately for Yvonne, the hit failed—but that didn’t stop Gaiser from hiring two more assassins to finish the job. Yvonne survived all three attempts despite being shot in the stomach.
Prosecutors initially believed Jeffrey was involved in the plot. They gave Gaiser a plea deal, so she would testify against him. However, the case fell apart when police discovered that Gaiser had tried to hire another hitman to kill Jeffrey. The court never charged her for this crime, but it did force them to drop charges against Jeffrey in 2013. Gaiser only received 20 years in prison.