A woman must spend five years in federal prison for paying bitcoin to a dark web site administrator to have her ex-husband killed, but the business turned out to be a scam.
Kristy Lynn Felkins, 38, must also serve three years of supervised release, show records out of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.
“I am so sorry for what I did,” Felkins told the judge on Thursday, according to the Sacramento Bee. “I lost my mind.”
As previously reported, Felkins sought help from Besa Mafia, a site on the dark web, in February 2016. She asserted that her ex abused her and was abusing her children after taking custody of them.
“What other defense does she have?” the ex-husband, Gabriel Scott, told the British television station Channel 4 in a 2022 report. “She’s got to save her own skin. You can’t exactly look at her as the pillar of morality who is going to say the right thing, true or not.”
To get the murder-for-hire done, Felkins paid 12 bitcoin, which was worth $5,000 in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Besa Mafia, a now-defunct website, was a scam that falsely offered illegal services including murder, kidnapping, and assault, prosecutors said.
Felkins’ money went down the drain. Nothing happened after she gave her ex’s home address, the airport he was going to use, and the exact time and location of a Starbucks he would visit while on a trip to Chico, California.
Communications between Felkins and the administrator stopped in April 2016, authorities said.
As they say, however, the internet is forever.
A person, who prosecutors noted was convicted in a non-U.S. country regarding his possession of child pornography, used a program to scrape messages between the site’s administrator and the users, prosecutors said. This individual, who did not have a deal with American authorities and did not act on behalf of the government, gave information to federal law enforcement, the complaint stated.
“I do thank God every day that the person I talked to was a scam artist,” Felkins reportedly said, adding that she was “very glad” no harm came to her ex. She said she wished she could undo it all.
Linda Harter, Felkins’ attorney, said in court that in addition to the mental health challenges, her client had experienced sexual abuse as a child and had also been abused by her ex-husband.
Scott reportedly voiced surprise at the murder-for-hire, according to the Sacramento Bee story. He described Felkins as “a wonderful mother” and said that their divorce had been “as amicable as you could expect.”
Nonetheless, he maintained that Felkins, who faced 10 years behind bars, should get prison. Prosecutors sought 7 years and three months.
“The intent to end someone’s life, yes, I believe that should be as substantial as the law allows,” Scott told Judge Troy L. Nunley.
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