Craigslist ad leads to murder-for-hire arrest

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by Mike Gertzman

Video report by Jared Dillingham

Posted on November 7, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 18 at 10:40 AM

MESA, Ariz. -- A Mesa man is facing felony charges after he allegedly posted an ad on Craigslist that said he was looking to buy a gun to kill his grandfather.

The charges against Devin Kaleb Almejo, 20, include attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. His bond was set at $1 million.

Almejo was arrested after meeting the undercover officer at the Fry’s grocery store on the corner of Main Street and Alma School Road.

Court documents show that based on Almejo’s inexperience with guns, the undercover officer offered to kill Almejo’s grandfather for him. Almejo allegedly accepted that offer and they set up a time of 10 a.m. Friday for the killing.

Police say Almejo said he would give the undercover officer a key to the RV where Almejo lived with this grandfather.

Almejo also told the undercover officer that he did not want to be there when his grandfather was killed.

The undercover officer said he gave Almejo three opportunities to walk away and told him the murder-for-hire conversation would be forgotten. Each time Almejo said he wanted his grandfather killed.

Almejo offered an iPad, iPod and one year of free haircuts as payment for the murder.

Police arrested Almejo after the meeting at Fry’s.

Investigators discovered messages on Almejo’s Facebook page that stated he had beaten and killed his grandfather but the grandfather was never harmed, according to police.

"There was nothing to indicate that anything was wrong," said the grandfather, Michael Layde. "Devin is mentally ill and his moods...it's just a split second and things can change"

Almejo told police that he wanted to kill his grandfather because his grandfather had abused him physically, mentally, and emotionally.

His grandfather denied those allegations, attributing Almejo's comments and actions to, "severe mental illness." "It really is the illness. He's smart, funny, and talented, but he can snap and go down a dark hole," his grandfather said. "And he was never properly treated. You can give someone a pill, but pills aren't always the right answer." Police said Almejo had been living with his grandfather for the past year.

"The state believes that this defendant constitutes a danger to the victim as he had already made attempts to hire someone to kill his grandfather," said a representative for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office at Almejo's initial court appearance. "The state believes that he's a flight risk based on what I'm seeing...the defendant already has at least three prior felony convictions and he is facing a substantial prison sentence if he is convicted in this case."

 

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