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York County man arrested, murder for hire plot foiled

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State police have arrested a Seven Valleys man, and foiled a murder for hire plot.

When Gregory Hess saw pictures of the man he wanted killed bound and in the trunk of a car, he thought the job had been carried out. Police say that is when he handed over $1,900 to the hit man he thought he thought he had hired.

Police caught on to the plot on April 17, 2014 when they say Gregory Hess of Seven Valleys, made contact with a man and asked him to kill someone. Police say the person Hess asked to carry out the job is a confidential informant already working with the Drug Task Force in York County.

Documents show that Hess contacted the confidential informant numerous times by cell phone.

Hess told the confidential informant that he wanted a man murdered, and that he wanted proof when the job was finished.

According to the police affidavit, Hess first offered the confidential informant $30,000 to murder the man. He then offered a $1,900 bonus if the job was completed by Friday, April 18th.

Members of the York County Drug Task Team immediately formed an investigation that spanned multiple jurisdictions. “Because this murder for hire scheme posed the risk for imminent death to another person, law enforcement responded with an all hands on deck effort,” said York County District Attorney Tom Kearney at a press conference Monday. “Those departments swung into action and provided the resources that were necessary to not only to stop a murder, but to catch Mr. Hess red-handed.”

Investigators contacted the man Hess wanted dead to let him know of the plot. “He was approached by our Troopers and members of the Drug Task Force and advised of the plan to have someone take his life. He was secured into a secure facility and advised of what the plan was,” said Lt. Adam Kosheba with Pennsylvania State Police.

Kosheba said the intended target worked with investigators to pull off a ruse to fool the suspect. Police took photos of the intended victim bound and stuffed in the truck of a car, which were later shown to Hess by the confidential informant.

Police say the man is an acquaintance of Hess’ wife, but police would not give any further details as to why Hess wanted him dead.

On Friday April 18th Hess and the confidential informant arranged to meet at a restaurant along Route 30 and Roosevelt Avenue, in West Manchester Township. According to police documents, the confidential informant was instructed to bring a cell phone from a woman encountered during the job, along with photos, as proof the murder had been committed.

Police say the confidential informant arrived at the Restaurant and Hess was already there waiting in his vehicle marked “Keystone Restoration.” Police confirmed that Hess is the owner of Keystone Restoration in York County.

According to police documents, Hess met with the confidential informant in the parking lot, and after seeing the photos, Hess gave the confidential informant $1900 for the completed job.

Police officers arrested Hess immediately after the exchange.

During the arrest police found that Hess was in possession of the two cell phones mentioned above. Police also found a loaded .32 caliber handgun lying on the floorboard on the backseat.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 9th.