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A Florida teacher was arrested on charges of solicitation of first degree murder for allegedly trying to place a hit on a fellow high school teacher.
James Pepe, 55, has been a teacher at Hillsborough County schools for 28 years. In recent years, the teacher allegedly started to become strange thinking that his colleagues were talking behind his back and spreading rumors that he was a child molester, reports The Tampa Tribune.
Pepe reportedly focused all of the blame for the bad things in life on his colleague, fellow high school teacher Robert Meredith.
That's when Pepe allegedly hatched a plan to kill him.
Pepe is accused of placing a hit on Meredith and calling a long-time friend to convince him to do the deed. However, the friend said he wouldn't do it and called the police instead, reports the Tribune.
Working with the cops, the friend told Pepe that he found someone who would carry out the killing. That person was an undercover police officer. Pepe and the undercover officer allegedly worked out an agreement where the officer would kill Meredith for $2,000.
The police eventually arrested Pepe at the high school where he worked, and he now faces felony charges for solicitation of murder.
But despite the police sting operation, Pepe may have a valid defense to the crime with the help of a good criminal defense attorney. According to people who know Pepe, the high school teacher has been acting strangely and even has had behavior reminiscent of paranoia (e.g.; that Meredith was spreading rumors of him being a child molester).
Just a year ago, Pepe had talked with a Tribune reporter regarding how he felt he was being treated unfairly by the district. He also made other strange complaints such as his colleagues were tampering with the air conditioning in his room.
A criminal defense attorney may be able to show that Pepe is insane and that he should not be found culpable for his acts. The more strange facts that come out about Pepe (and they keep coming out), the stronger the potential for an insanity defense. Stay tuned.