CAMDEN COUNTY, N.J. (TCD) — A 31-year-old man pleaded guilty this week to hiring a hit man to kill a 14-year-old boy to prevent the teen from testifying against him at a child pornography trial.
In a statement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced John Michael Musbach pleaded guilty Thursday, Feb. 2, to “intentionally using and causing another to use a facility of interstate and foreign commerce, that is the internet, with the intent that a murder be committed.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in the summer of 2015, Musbach and the then-13-year-old boy reportedly “exchanged via the internet sexually explicit photographs and videos.”
The boy lived in New York, while Musbach resided in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The juvenile’s parents reportedly learned about the messages and contacted police. He was arrested in March 2016 on child pornography charges.
Between May 7 and May 20, 2016, Musbach allegedly communicated with a murder-for-hire website administrator on the dark web. The site reportedly offered “contract killings or other acts of violence in return for payment in cryptocurrency.”
Musbach reportedly asked the hit man if “a 14-year-old was too young to target,” and when he learned it wasn’t, he paid 40 bitcoin, which equated to $20,000 at the time. The administrator reportedly asked for $5,000 more to “secure the hit,” and Musbach asked for his money back.
The administrator reportedly informed Musbach the site was a sham and threatened to contact law enforcement about his proposal.
Musbach faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine greater than $250,000.
He will be sentenced June 13.