Florida woman gets prison time for failed hitman scheme

Apr 21, 2022, 6:50 AM | Updated: 7:05 am

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A 51-year-old Tampa woman has been sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison for attempting to hire a hitman on the dark web to kill her ex-boyfriend’s wife.

U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday also ordered DeAnna Marie Stinson to serve three years of supervised release and to pay more than $12,000 in restitution and a fine.

The judge noted it was difficult to determine the right sentence for the highly educated churchgoing businesswoman who prosecutors described as “calculating” and “brazen” in seeking someone to kill another woman, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“It is true these two people exist,” Judge Merryday said Wednesday. “They are actually the same person.”

Stinson pleaded guilty in January to a single charge of murder-for-hire. Prosecutors sought a 9-year sentence, which was on the higher end of the federal sentencing guidelines.

The website, which was not named in court, existed on the “dark web” which is where some people go to buy illegal goods and services in online marketplaces. She admitted to making several transactions last summer on the website, which offered hitman services.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Thelwell displayed screenshots showing banner photos of a spent shell casing, a man in a hoodie brandishing a handgun and other images.

A pricing page detailed various acts: “Death by shooting,” was listed at a minimum of $5,000, “Death by sniper” was $20,000, and “Beating” was $2,000.

It turns out, the website was a scam. But Stinson, unaware of the scam, made several posts on the website’s public message forum seeking to order a hitman for a “Florida Job,” the newspaper reported.

Records showed she made five bitcoin transactions totaling $12,307.61. She included the intended victim’s name, address and a photo.

The FBI was alerted, interviewed the intended victim and learned of the husband’s previous relationship with Stinson.

An undercover agent contacted Stinson in August, posing as a hitman.

The agent told Stinson, in a recorded phone call that was played in court, that he had been watching the couple. He said he would make it look like a robbery and sought assurances that Stinson wanted to go through with it. She did not back out.

He told her to “act surprised” when she found out.

“Don’t do anything different,” he said. “She’ll be dead within two weeks.”

Stinson was arrested in September.

“I cited the old adage, ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,'” Federal Defender Alec Hall told the judge. “I think that’s what happened in this case.”

Stinson’s parents and friends attended the hearing. They told the judge Stinson held a master’s degree in accounting, ran her own financial services business and served as the chief financial officer for her church.

Stinson apologized in court.

“I wish there was another word for sorry,” she told the court. “I am truly sorry that my brokenness could bring discord to their family.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Haitian migrant Gerson Solay, 28, carries his daughter, Bianca, as he and his family cross into Can...
Associated Press

US, Canada to end loophole that allows asylum-seekers to move between countries

President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced a plan to close a loophole to an immigration agreement.
1 day ago
Expert skateboarder Di'Orr Greenwood, an artist born and raised in the Navajo Nation in Arizona and...
Associated Press

Indigenous skateboard art featured on new stamps unveiled at Phoenix skate park

The Postal Service unveiled the “Art of the Skateboard" stamps at a Phoenix skate park, featuring designs from Indigenous artists.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/City of San Luis, Arizona)...
Associated Press

San Luis authorities receive complaints about 911 calls going across border

Authorities in San Luis say they are receiving more complaints about 911 calls mistakenly going across the border.
7 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Daylight saving time begins in most of US this weekend

No time change is observed in Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.
15 days ago
Mexican army soldiers prepare a search mission for four U.S. citizens kidnapped by gunmen in Matamo...
Associated Press

How the 4 abducted Americans in Mexico were located

The anonymous tip that led Mexican authorities to a remote shack where four abducted Americans were held described armed men and blindfolds.
15 days ago
Tom Brundy points to a newly built irrigation canal on one of the fields at his farm Tuesday, Feb. ...
Associated Press

Southwest farmers reluctant to idle farmland to save water

There is a growing sense that fallowing will have to be part of the solution to the increasingly desperate drought in the West.
22 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo: OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center)...

Here’s what you need to know about OCD and where to find help

It's fair to say that most people know what obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders generally are, but there's a lot more information than meets the eye about a mental health diagnosis that affects about one in every 100 adults in the United States.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Florida woman gets prison time for failed hitman scheme