York County murder for hire suspect will go to trial

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A judge ruled Friday that a York County man suspected in a murder for hire plot will go to trial. After a preliminary hearing the judge ruled that Gregory Hess will go to trial for allegedly hiring a man to kill his wife’s boyfriend back in April.

Inside the courtroom a confidential informant testified about his first meeting with Hess. He said he was walking down the street and saw Hess, the owner of Keystone Restoration, working on a roof. The confidential informant (CI) needed repairs done to his own roof and asked for a quote. He said he saw Hess the next day, this time in a Lexus SUV. He recalled saying to Hess that he would give up and arm and a leg for a vehicle that nice. He said that is when the conversation started and eventually led to Hess offering to pay $2,000 to kill his wife’s boyfriend and $40,000-$50,000 after the CI had killed his wife. After becoming frustrated that the CI was stalling, Hess allegedly offered more money to get it done quickly.

The CI called a member of the York County Drug Task Force and tipped him off. That agent also testified. He talked about police quickly setting up surveillance and recording interactions. “There will be evidence presented that corroborates a lot of things that were said. You heard evidence testified about certain recordings and things of that nature and that will come out during the trial and I look forward to playing It for the jury,” said Chief Deputy Prosecutor Dave Sunday.

That evidence also includes photos police took of the intended target, bound, bloody, and with his eyes rolled back in his head, to fool Hess into thinking the job had been carried out.

The officer said he followed the CI to an arranged meeting at a restaurant along Route 30 in York County. The informant said he drove the intended target’s truck to that meeting and also brought the target’s cell phone to prove he had done it.

The CI said he also brought Hess’ wife’s phone and said he had her tied up at another location. Hess then allegedly said he would only pay the money if his wife was let go. They said that once the CI agreed, police arrested Hess.

Defense Attorney Farley Holt, said Hess never wanted them dead. “My client had no intentions of that happening, that wasn’t his intention. I am not saying my client didn’t have contact with the CI and they didn’t have an agreement to do something, but it certainly wasn’t to kill,” said Holt. He said the CI is not trustworthy. “I think he was lousy, I think he was evasive, I didn’t think he answered the questions, I think he contradicted himself in spots, I just think he was a lousy witness. I think as this thing plays out we are going to find out there is more to this story with Mr. CI, I hope that they have more evidence than what he has, because I think he is a lousy witness and I can’t see him getting much better as this thing moves forward,” said Holt.

Hess is being held at York County Prison. he is expected to have a hearing requesting bail at the end of May. His formal arraignment is set for June 20, 2014.