Man accused of arranging murders-for-hire sentenced to 20 years

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - A man who allegedly planned to hire someone to murder his father-in-law and another man having an affair with his wife was sentenced to 20 years for the scheme, according to the probable cause affidavit.

On December 16, 2022, Joshua Cassel pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit murder - does not result in death as part of a plea agreement.

On November 10, 2021, a detective with the South Bend Police Department's Violent Crimes Unit met with a confidential informant and inmate who said he spoke to another inmate at the St. Joseph County Jail about a possible murder for hire conspiracy.

According to the informant, 32-year-old Cassel contacted him asking if he knew anyone who could commit a murder for him. Cassel told the informant he wanted a man murdered after learning the man was having an affair with his wife, reports said.

Cassel came directly to the informant because, in the past, the informant had done favors for one of Cassel's friends and Cassel had done some favors for the informant, according to reports.

The informant said he knew someone who could commit the crime for around $5,000, which Cassel said he would get via taxes.

Cassel drew a map of the potential victim's place of employment and gave it to the informant, who in turn gave it to law enforcement.

On November 12, an undercover South Bend Police detective met with Cassel at the St. Joseph County Jail.

During the meeting, the detective identified himself as "an associate" of the informant, reports said.

Cassel asked if the detective was "in the business" and the detective confirmed he was.

Cassel outlined the murder-for-hire plan, saying the man who was having an affair with his wife "violated bro code," police said.

The directions Cassel gave to the detective were similar to the ones he gave to the informant.

Cassel said he could probably get payment for the job from his grandmother if she thought the money was for attorney fees, according to reports.

According to the detective, Cassel stated he wanted the job done "ASAP" and that he didn't want the man alive anymore.

Cassel allegedly gave the detective his grandmother's phone number.  

During the investigation, law enforcement learned that on November 9, a man called Cassel at the jail and told him he was having an affair with his wife.

The next day, the informant told law enforcement about Cassel's murder-for-hire plan, reports said.

On November 15, police learned Cassel also wanted his father-in-law murdered.

The informant told law enforcement that, a few days after Cassel met with the undercover detective, Cassel told the informant his father-in-law was not letting Cassel talk to his wife.

According to the informant, Cassel wanted to know if the informant's go-between could arrange for a double job, for the father-in-law and the other man.

Cassel allegedly gave the informant information on when his father-in-law worked, when he got home from work, and a map of the father-in-law's residence, including the location of a chair the father-in-law sat in so, "someone could shoot him right through this window!"

Cassel said if his father-in-law was killed, his wife would stay with one of Cassel's family members, who is on his side and would help get Cassel and his wife back together, according to police.

In a November 24 meeting with the undercover detective, Cassel displayed a map similar to the one given to the informant, which included the father-in-law's address, his work hours, and when he got home from work, reports said.

Cassel said his grandmother wanted his attorney to contact her directly about the money Cassel was asking for.

When the detective asked what Cassel wanted him to do to his father-in-law, Cassel allegedly said he wanted the man "popped" and made a gesture of pointing a "finger gun" and pulling the trigger.

Cassel was sentenced to 20 years for one count of conspiracy to commit murder and 20 years for the second count of conspiracy to commit murder.

These sentences will be served concurrently, according to court documents.

His other two charges for attempted murder were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

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