01/19/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/19/2021 15:27
Columbia, South Carolina----United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr., announced today that a federal judge has accepted a guilty plea by Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inmate Richard Robert Gilbert for a murder-for-hire and retaliation plot against an Assistant United States Attorney and a confidential informant. The plea calls for Gilbert to serve 262 months, consecutive to the 130-month sentence for which he was already in federal prison.
'The U.S. Attorney's Office will continue to hold accountable those who seek violent retribution against law enforcement officers and those who assist the government,' said U.S. Attorney McCoy. 'We stand united with our law enforcement partners. We are undeterred by bad actors and will ensure the rule of law is upheld.'
Evidence presented in the court showed that Gilbert was serving time at a federal prison in Edgefield for trafficking methamphetamine in Bowling Green, Kentucky, when he sought to hire a hitman to kill the federal prosecutor and a key witness from his Kentucky case. Using a contraband cell phone in prison, Gilbert communicated with an undercover task force officer with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who was posing as a hitman. Following multiple recorded phone calls, Gilbert sent the undercover officer a $2,000 check from his prison canteen account as a down payment for the retaliatory murder-for-hire. Masking the true purpose of this payment, Gilbert attempted to mislead BOP officials by misrepresenting the payment as being for an 'investment firm.'
Evidence presented also showed that Gilbert drew maps of where he believed the witness from Kentucky lived and provided directions to the undercover officer, posing as the hitman, on how to avoid detection by nearby surveillance cameras. The evidence also showed how Gilbert planned to use income from two of his rental properties to facilitate the attempted murder-for-hire and retaliation plot. He also planned to use the value of his ownership stake in other land to pay for the murder of the federal prosecutor from Kentucky.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the BOP Special Operations Response Team and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jim May, Justin Holloway, and Will Jordan.