A man who seemingly mistook a parody murder-for-hire website for the real thing could face up to 10 years in prison after trying to get his girlfriend’s mother killed.
Leif Everett Hayman, 33, has pled guilty to one count of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-to-hire.
A federal grand jury indicted Hayman on 20 July 2022 for trying to solicit the help of a hitman to murder his girlfriend’s mother after he submitted three service requests between 10 April and 11 May 2022 on a website named ‘rentahitman.com.’
Unbeknown to Hayman, the website is a parody and has caught other people trying to legitimately use the site, such as an Air National Guardsman in April 2023, who tried get employed by the site as a hitman.
The man who created the website, Bob Innes, originally bought the domain for the purposes of website traffic analysis services, with the play-on word ‘hit’ meaning clicks on a website.
He believes he has saved nearly 150 lives as a result of the website filtering in those who genuinely want to harm someone, he told The Guardian in 2021.
Hayman had a state-appointed guardian and lived with full-time caregivers because of his “intellectual disabilities,” according to court documents seen by the Sacramento Bee.
After his arrest, one psychological exam said he was “incompetent to stand trial,” while another Bureau of Prisons psychologist determined he was competent, ending in a competency hearing that ultimately ruled Hayman fit to stand trial, the local outlet reported.
Hayman said he wanted to “hurt” the victim and added, “I want her gone now, too much that I don’t like about her she’s controlling my wife,” in his first request, according to a news release from the New Mexico District Attorney’s Office.
In these requests, he provided a website which included the identity of his intended victim and also stated an address and photographs.
He followed this up with, “This is the target person if you don’t do it I will do it myself I’m already thinking about just doing it myself I want her gone now.”
Hayman sent the requests; however, the website was filled with parody and satirical remarks, even saying on one page that their information could be “leaked” to law enforcement.
After these requests to end the life of his girlfriend’s mother, he sent numerous follow-up emails, telling the service he was losing patience with how long the process was taking.
Eventually, a person Hayman seemingly assumed worked for the hitman service contacted him on 5 May 2022 to discuss his murder request.
The person, however, was, in fact, an undercover agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Hayman expressed to the agent that he wanted the victim “gone off the Earth.”
Before this, an affidavit obtained by the Sacramento Bee said that Hayman may have started to think the hitman service was not legitimate, sending an email writing, “you people are fake,” but he was ultimately swayed by the agent who deceived him into thinking the service was still available.
The agent and Hayman discussed the various ways to perform the murder, including using a gun, a baseball bat, knives and rocks.
The day after, Hayman texted the undercover agent and gave him the victim’s address and a photograph.
A few days later, they had a telephone call and told the agent that he lived in a residence with staff and that the undercover agent, or as Hayman knew him as, the hitman, would have to harm his caretaker in order for him to leave the home.
Hayman then agreed to pay the agent/hitman around $200 to murder the victim.
The undercover agent went to Hayman’s house under the guise of picking him up to carry out the murder of the victim, but when the agent showed up, Hayman came out of his residence with his caretaker “in tow,” the statement read.
Saying that “this is part of the deal,” Hayman told the agent he wanted something done to the caretaker. However, the caretaker and Mr Hayman started to shove each other, so the agent aborted the mission and drove away.
Hayman will remain in custody pending his sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled. He faces 10 years in prison.