February 24, 2007 in Idaho

Murder plan ends in guilty ruling

Taryn Brodwater Staff writer
 
The Spokesman-Review photo

Driggers
(Full-size photo)

Federal jurors in Boise on Friday returned a guilty verdict against a former Post Falls man charged in a murder-for-hire plot against his ex-wife.

Paul W. Driggers, 54, was convicted by a jury in January of the same crime, but U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge declared a mistrial after jurors inadvertently learned of Driggers’ criminal past during deliberations.

Driggers was arrested in August 2006 after a California man he attempted to hire as a hit man went to authorities.

Prosecutors said Driggers wanted to have his ex-wife killed because he was facing child molestation and gun charges and because he wanted sole custody of his children, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

U.S. Attorney Tom Moss said in a press release Friday that Driggers’ conviction was the result of the cooperation of local, state and federal investigators.

“A dangerous man has been taken off the streets, and Coeur d’Alene is a safer place,” Moss said.

Prosecutors said Driggers contacted an acquaintance from prison in April 2006 and “asked to be put in touch with someone who could do a job for him.” The prison contact gave Driggers the name of the California man, who later turned informant.

The man and Driggers met at a Coeur d’Alene restaurant later that month, according to court records, and discussed several illegal activities they could partner on, including charity scams and identity theft.

When the pair left the restaurant, Driggers told the man he wanted his ex-wife killed, prosecutors said. Driggers offered the man $10,000 for the murder and later deposited $1,000 into the man’s account, they said.

In a July 25 phone call recorded by investigators, Driggers and the informant agreed to meet in the parking lot of a Coeur d’Alene hardware store. The informant wore a wire and the two discussed details of the murder plot, including plans to communicate with walkie-talkies and how to dispose of the ex-wife’s body.

Driggers called and gave the informant the “go-ahead” on the following day.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 21 in Coeur d’Alene. Driggers faces up to 10 years in federal prison.


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