An Ohio woman faces federal charges after she allegedly used Facebook to hire a hitman to randomly kill "someone wearing fur."
Meredith Lowell, 27, of Cleveland Heights, is charged with solicitation to commit murder in connection with her Facebook posts and emails sent to an undercover federal agent, The Plain Dealer reports.
Lowell, using the name Anne Lowery on Facebook, posted that she wanted "to find someone who is willing to kill someone wearing fur," and would pay $850 for the hit, according to an affidavit. When an undercover FBI agent contacted her, Lowell's plot became much more specific:
In an email, Meredith Lowell told the would-be Facebook hitman to "bring a gun that has a silencer on it, and that can be easily concealed in your pants pocket or coat. Do not wear anything that even remotely looks like fur," Lowell wrote, according to the affidavit obtained by The Plain Dealer.
"I am paying you to kill one person wearing fur who is 12 or older (but hopefully at least 14 years however 12 years old or older is fine)," another of Lowell's alleged emails said.
And though Lowell did not want to pull the trigger, she allegedly planned on getting caught. "I plan on staying after the hit for reasons of benefit to the movement," Lowell wrote, according to the affidavit. "And I think being caught would actually benefit me personally."
To prove solicitation, prosecutors must show Lowell requested that someone else engage in criminal conduct, and intended that person to commit the crime. The crime itself -- in this case, murder -- does not have to be committed.
There are defenses to solicitation. Lowell could try to argue she did not solicit anyone -- perhaps "Anne Lowery" is not her alias -- or that her request was not intended to be serious. Lowell's mental state could also be a factor.
Unless a defense applies in Lowell's case, her alleged use of Facebook to hire a hitman seems to fulfill the elements of solicitation. If convicted, the anti-fur activist could face up to 20 years in prison.
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