Jail inmate allegedly offered two people money to kill judge, another person

AP

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The Boone County Prosecuting Attorney's Office filed charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder against a man already in jail for violating an order of protection and on an arson charge that alleges he paid one of his employees $500 to burn down a trailer in 2014.

Mehrdad Fotoohighiam offered to pay two inmates at the Boone County Jail to kill a circuit court judge identified in a probable cause statement only as "J.H.," who was set to hear his arson case, as well as someone the statement calls "H.F."

Circuit Judge Jeff Harris is the only judge in the 13th Judicial Circuit with the initials J.H. Records on Missouri Casenet indicate Harris was presiding over Fotoohighiam's arson case until September, when the Missouri Supreme Court appointed Judge Richard Callahan of Cole County to take over.

Assistant prosecutor Philip Groenweghe of St. Charles County filed the probable cause statement. A representative of the St. Charles County prosecutor's office said there would be no comment on an open case.

Fotoohighiam has been in jail in connection with the arson case since his $5 million bond was revoked in October 2016. In July, Fotoohighiam was found guilty of violating a protective order filed by his wife after he sent an employee to contact her. He was sentenced to a year in jail with credit for time served.

The murder charges came this month after two inmates at the Boone County Jail told Sheriff's Department investigators that Fotoohighiam approached them separately in August and offered each a large amount of money to burglarize his home and kill "H.F.," according to Groenweghe's probable cause statement.

One inmate told police that Fotoohighiam gave the inmate a map to his home, instructions for getting inside and the combination to a safe where he said he kept a large amount of money. The inmate said Fotoohighiam described what "H.F." looked like and his or her vehicle.

One of the inmates said Fotoohighiam also offered an even larger sum of money to kill the judge.

Fotoohighiam was scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charges in Boone County Associate Circuit Court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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