Monroe Township Man Gets 97-Month Prison Term for Murder-for-Hire Scheme

Michael Stewart, a 69-year-old man from Monroe Township, New Jersey, has been sentenced to 97 months in prison after pleading guilty to plotting to pay a hitman to kill his ex-wife and her daughter. The announcement was made on May 3, 2023 by US Attorney Philip R. Sellinger.

Stewart was charged with one count of using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder for hire before U.S. District Judge Julien Xavier Neals. The sentence was imposed on May 2, 2023, at Newark federal court. According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

In the summer of 2021, Stewart and a confidential source discussed the murder of his ex-wife and her daughter. He indicated that he would pay for the murders and asked the confidential source to locate a hitman. In October 2021, Stewart met with an undercover agent who he believed to be a hitman and told him he wanted the ex-wife’s daughter killed first, followed by the ex-wife.

Stewart proceeded to tell the undercover agent he would pay for the killings and provided details regarding names, addresses, layout of the victims’ property, and types of cars used by the victims. He also showed the undercover agent a photograph of his ex-wife. Finally, he handed over $500 as a partial payment.

In addition to serving the prison term, Judge Neals sentenced Stewart to three years of supervised release. U.S. Attorney Sellinger praised the special agents of the FBI, who were directed by Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, for the investigations leading to the sentencing.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. attorney Olta Bejleri of the Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark. Defense counsel was provided by Michael Robert Rosas Esq. of Iselin, New Jersey.

The news of this heinous crime has sparked widespread outrage and concern about the increase in domestic violence cases. Cases of domestic violence are becoming more common and judges are warning the public that perpetrators will receive the full extent of the law. The severity of Stewart’s sentence should serve as a warning for anyone contemplating such a crime.

Meanwhile, non-profits continue to offer support and assistance to victims of domestic violence. It is hoped that their efforts will help to bring greater awareness to the problem and lead to a reduction in cases.

The sentencing of Stewart has brought some relief to the family of his ex-wife and her daughter. Although nothing can make up for the emotional pain caused by Stewart’s actions, they are relieved that justice has been served.

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