Washington: Indian American Narsan Lingala and his girlfriend Sandya Reddy have been charged with trying to hire a hitman to kill the former's estranged wife.
Lingala, 55, who has been charged by criminal complaint with one count of murder-for-hire was produced before US Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court and was held without bail.
His ex-girlfriend, Reddy, 52, appeared in the court on the same charge and was also detained. According to the complaint, in May 2018, Lingala was in a holding cell at the Middlesex County Superior Courthouse as he awaited a court hearing.
While there, he asked another inmate if he knew anyone who could kill his estranged wife. The inmate responded that he knew such a person.
In June 2018, at the direction of law enforcement, the inmate introduced Lingala to an undercover agent posing as a hitman. Over subsequent weeks, Lingala and the undercover cop spoke on the phone and planned to meet in person the next time that Lingala travelled from Indiana to New Jersey.
On August 18, 2018, Lingala and the undercover police officer agreed to meet outside a New Jersey shopping mall. Later that day, Lingala and his then-girlfriend, Reddy, arrived outside the mall and approached the cop.
Lingala introduced Reddy and stated that she understood what was going on. The trio then entered the undercover cop's car.
They proceeded to have a conversation that was video recorded. The cop asked Lingala to confirm what he wanted him to do and the accused said, "I want that woman to be out of my life... totally. Never again. She never comes back."
During the conversation, the undercover cop asked, "You want me to take care of her?" to which Lingala responded, "Yeah." The undercover cop stated, "She's done, I'm going to kill her. End of story." Lingala responded, "Yeah. End of story."
During the conversation, Lingala gave the cop information about the intended victim including his ex-wife's full name, home address, age, and home phone number. He also described the entrances to and layout of her home; the name of the company where she worked; and the timing and details of her work commute.
Lingala showed the undercover officer photos of the exterior and interior of his ex-wife's home. Reddy also provided the him information about the intended victim. The trio also discussed the price and the undercover cop demanded between USD 5,000 and USD 10,000, depending on the job's complexity.
Lingala agreed and asked if he could pay after the job was done. The cop, however, said he would need a down payment. The couple discussed the issue and then Lingala asked the cop, "Can I give you a thousand down payment?" to which the undercover cop agreed.
Lingala later stated, "I want that money to go into your pocket." Lingala informed the undercover officer that making the down payment would take about two weeks. After the meeting, authorities arrested Lingala and Reddy. The murder-for-hire charge is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a USD 250,000 fine.