Dauphin County Prison inmate found dead in cell; was accused of trying to hire hitman to kill wife

James Macaulay

DAUPHIN COUNTY — A Lancaster County man charged earlier this month with attempting to hire a hitman to murder his wife was pronounced dead Thursday morning after being found unresponsive in his Dauphin County Prison cell.

James Macaulay, 45, was pronounced dead at 4:03 a.m., according to a Dauphin County communications spokesperson. Dauphin County officials did not identify Macaulay, but his online court documents say “case dismissed/defendant deceased.

Macaulay was incarcerated at the facility since March 9, charged with criminal solicitation — criminal homicide.

He was accused of asking an acquaintance on March 5 to help him find a contract killer. The acquaintance provided Macaulay a phone number and over the next few days, he allegedly communicated with the “purported killer” by phone and in person.

It’s alleged that Macaulay provided the killer, who has not been named by the DA’s Office, a photo of his wife and details about where she would be at different times of the day.

The Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office says Macaulay agreed to pay $5,000 to the individual to kill his wife.

The Dauphin County Coroner’s Office and Criminal Investigation Division are currently investigating to determine the cause of death.

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