Thursday, 4:30 PM
Man convicted in murder for hire plot involving wife and daughter
By Raja Mishra, Globe staff
A federal jury convicted a Peabody man for trying to hire a hit man to kill his estranged wife and 14-month old daughter, including instructing an undercover federal agent to dispose of his wife's body in a cement-filled oil drum deposited in the ocean.
Late Wednesday, Guillermo F. Vasco, 31, was found guilty of two counts of using the US mail to solicit murder and three counts of using the phone to solicit murder. He faces up to 10 years imprisonment and $250,000 in fines for each count.
"Guillermo Vasco was convicted of the cowardly and despicable act of plotting to have his spouse and daughter murdered," said US Attorney Michael Sullivan. "The jury verdict should send a strong message to men who commit or attempt to commit acts of violence against women and children that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Vasco still faces trial on charges for the alleged 2004 abduction of his wife and daughter at knifepoint from the Peabody house they once shared. While in the Essex County Correctional Facility on those charges, Vasco in March 2005 approached another inmate seeking someone to kill his wife and daughter. The inmate informed authorities, putting into motion an unusual sting operation.
Vasco was put in touch with an federal agent posing as a hit man, and instructed him in letters to kill his dog "Nickie," code for his wife, and kidnap his puppy "Candy," code for his daughter, and deliver her to his family in Venezuela. If that was impossible, he said to kill Candy as well. Vasco offered to pay $10,000 for each deed. The undercover agent met Vasco in person at the jail, where he was told to use the oil barrel, including advice to poke holes in it so fish could eat away his wife's corpse.
Federal agents then got Vasco's wife to pose as dead for photos, using cosmetics to make her appear beaten and shot in the head. Upon seeing the faked evidence, Vasco remarked, "I really appreciate that."