State College couple accused of murder-for-hire plot in Chester County
CHESTER COUNTY — A State College man suspected of dealing heroin is accused of conspiring with his girlfriend in a murder-for-hire plot to eliminate a witness he believed was cooperating with police in the drug case against him, according to Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.
Christopher Pickard, 29, and Latrice Harrington, 27, both of State College, are charged with conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder, weapons charges, and related offenses, the district attorney said in a press release.
According to a criminal complaint against both suspects, Pickard was arrested on August 3 in Charlestown Township, Chester County, with 813 baggies of heroin in his car. Another passenger in the car was released, and later became the target of Pickard’s murder plot, the complaint said.
After his arrest, Pickard was remanded to Chester County Prison. He allegedly began to suspect the passenger in his car was cooperating with police in the drug investigation.
Police received information alleging that Pickard wanted to solicit a hitman to kill the passenger. Police say he was provided with a telephone number for a hitman, who was actually an undercover police officer.
Once he received the number, Pickard allegedly began working with Harrington, his girlfriend, to arrange for the murder of the victim, police say. Pickard allegedly offered $2,000 in cash and an ounce of “the dog food” (code for heroin) to kill the victim, according to police. Harrington allegedly worked with Pickard to arrange communications between Pickard and the hitman.
Police say Harrington and Pickard arranged for the hitman to see pictures of the victim on Facebook and Snapchat. They allegedly identified the victim’s address and a good time of day for the murder.
Harrington allegedly picked up two firearms for Pickard — a sawed-off shotgun and a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol. She allegedly delivered the items and a $300 down payment to the hitman for the murder. Pickard allegedly promised to supply the heroin to the hitman once he was out of prison.
According to the criminal complaint, the officer posing as a hitman contacted Harrington and told her “He’s dead…the dude’s gone and he’s not breathing and he’s out of the state many states away.”
Harrington allegedly replied, “All right, that’s always good news, thank you so much for that,” according to the criminal complaint.
Harrington allegedly then told Pickard, “That thing is done, you don’t have to worry about somebody anymore.”
The case was investigated by Chester County Detectives and the Pennsylvania State Police Drug Enforcement Division.