Two face charges of seeking ‘murder for hire’

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Christopher Pickard

Two people from State College are facing charges that they engaged in a murder for hire scheme to silence a potential witness in a drug bust earlier this year in Charlestown.

District Attorney Tom Hogan said that Christopher Pickard and Latrice Harrington attempted to arrange the death of another person — presumably a person who was in the car with Pickard when he was arrested and charged with possession of 813 baggies of heroin.

“This case is a clear example of how dangerous drug traffickers can be in the United States,”Pennsylvania State Police Sgt. Keye Wysocki said in a statement. “Within days of being arrested and from within prison, the defendant orchestrated a murder-for-hire in an attempt to elude a conviction for a drug arrest.”

After his arrest, authorities said, Pickard was remanded to Chester County Prison. Pickard, authorities said, then began to suspect that the passenger in his car was cooperating with the police in the drug investigation, or, as Pickard put it, the passenger was “ratting” on him to the police.

Latrice Harrington

Law enforcement then received information that Pickard wanted to solicit a hitman to kill the passenger (hereinafter referred to as the “victim”). Pickard was provided with a telephone number for a hitman, who actually was an undercover police officer.

Pickard then allegedly worked with his co-defendant Latrice Harrington to arrange for the murder of the victim. Pickard offered the hitman “$2,000 cash and an ounce of the dog food” (code for heroin) to kill the victim. Harrington, Pickard’s girlfriend, reportedly worked with Pickard to funnel communications between Pickard and the hitman.

The defendants then allegedly arranged for the hitman to see pictures of the victim on the social media sites Facebook and Snapchat. The defendants identified the victim’s residence and a good time of day for the murder.

Harrington then reportedly picked up two firearms for Pickard, a sawed-off shotgun and a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol.  Investigators said that Harrington delivered the firearms and a $300 down payment to the hitman for the murder. Pickard promised to supply the hitman with heroin when Pickard got out of prison.

The defendants then reportedly confirmed that the hitman had murdered the victim. The hitman informed Harrington, “He’s dead.. .. the dude’s gone and he’s not breathing and he’s out of the state many states away.” Harrington replied, “Alright that’s always good news thank you so much for that.” Harrington then  related  to Pickard, “That thing is done, you don’t have to worry about somebody anymore.”

The defendants have been charged with conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder, weapons charges, and related offenses.

“This is a clear example of the Stop Snitching’ culture that is pervasive in drug cases and cities like Philadelphia,” Hogan said. “Chester County law enforcement is always vigilant, and the criminals should be aware that they only make a bad situation worse for themselves when they try these tactics in Chester County. The Pennsylvania State Police and Chester County Detectives did an outstanding job in this case.”

 

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