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TX Woman Gets 9 Years for Bitcoin Murder-for-Hire Scheme

Gun and Bitcoin
Gun and Bitcoin | Image by LightField Studios/Shutterstock

A North Texas woman was sentenced to nine years in prison for hiring a hitman to kill her boyfriend’s lover, using Bitcoin for the payment.

Michelle Murphy, 58, of Bedford, was sentenced to federal prison on Thursday after previously pleading guilty to one count of murder-for-hire, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Texas.

Murphy used the dark web — essentially encrypted online spaces where people can conceal their identity — to find a hitman. She attempted to pay $10,510 in Bitcoin to an individual for the murder of another woman romantically involved with her boyfriend.

“To my knowledge, it’s the first time this has happened in Texas, but it’s happened plenty of places all over the United States,” said Richard Roper, a former U.S. attorney, per Fox 4 KDFW.

An agent with the Department of Homeland Security received information about Murphy’s payment from a source. This prompted the agent to perform a blockchain analysis. The analysis revealed that Murphy used an ATM to convert cash into Bitcoin on at least three occasions.

On July 28, records show she transferred 0.358 BTC, equivalent to $10,510 at the time, to a Bitcoin wallet she thought belonged to the would-be hitman, per the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release.

On August 11, the agent contacted the potential victim, who said she was romantically involved with a man who resided in Bedford with his girlfriend, Michelle, per The Dallas Morning News.

The agent confirmed through Murphy’s Facebook page that she was dating the man. Some of her uploads showed pictures of a Mudi dog breed. This was a notable discovery since Murphy went by the name “LISTMUDI” when seeking to hire the hitman on the dark web, according to the complaint, per DMN.

On September 21, agents confronted Murphy and her boyfriend, eventually arresting Murphy, who then admitted to hiring a hitman after discovering her boyfriend’s infidelity.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys said it was likely that the recipient of the cryptocurrency payment never intended to follow through with the murder.

Violent crimes like murder have been an issue in North Texas, especially in Dallas, where a longstanding police shortage has hampered the Dallas Police Department’s efforts to get crime under control.

Murders increased by roughly 15% in 2023, with the majority of victims logged as either black or Hispanic, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

DPD only has around 3,000 officers in the field despite a City report recommending a police force of roughly 4,000 to cover a jurisdiction the size of Dallas. This shortfall is expected to persist, with the Dallas City Council recently allocating just $654 million to DPD this fiscal year, less than the police budgets seen in other high-crime cities, such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

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