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Court documents reveal new details about alleged murder-for-hire

One day after a Columbia arson suspect was charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder, new court documents reveal he is accused of trying to hire hit men to kill two people, including a judge.

A special prosecutor out of St. Charles said that between July and October, Mehrdad Fotoohighiam allegedly offered to pay inmates at the Boone County Jail to murder two people, including a circuit court judge.

ABC 17 News previously reported that Fotoohighiam is accused of paying an employee $500 in late 2014 to set fire to a small home on Rock Quarry Road near Grindstone in Columbia. He’s currently in the Boone County Jail without bail awaiting a May trial in that case.

The new probable cause statement, written by Boone County Detective Matt Vessar, stated that two inmates gave information to the Sheriff’s Department that caused deputies to begin investigating Fotoohighiam. Vessar does not say if they are current or former Boone County Jail inmates.

Vessar wrote that the inmates said Fotoohighiam approached them in August, and offered to pay them large sums of money to kill two people, including the judge hearing his arson case.

He apparently requested they burglarize his home in south Columbia and kill someone that Vessar identified only by their initials. Fotoohighiam allegedly provided one of the inmates with a detailed map to and of the home, as well as a description of what the would-be victim and their car looked like.

The inmate said he also provided the combination to a safe where the money was kept.

The second inmate told investigators Fotoohighiam then offered them a larger sum of money to kill the judge in his arson case.

Fotoohighiam’s attorney told ABC17 News Thursday night that he will be pleading not guilty to both new charges.

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