Agents Bust Murder for Hire Plot
By Dan Breitwieser, TV20 News.
FBI agents say they stepped in Sunday afternoon after phone calls and text messages showed he wasn't joking. Investigators say Ivan Eccles was willing to pay up to $60,000 for his wife's death.
Agents say it all started February 11th, when Eccles, 34, contacted someone from his former home state of Michigan--asking them to come to Florida and kill his wife. That person went to the police, who contacted the FBI.
Neighbors at his southwest Columbia County home say the couple moved along with their son and his parents to a pair of homes on the same piece of property between 1 - 1.5 years ago.
FBI investigators say he had asked the individual to make it look like a robbery near his wife's place of employment at Meridian Behavorial Healthcare in Lake City. They say they made their move Sunday afternoon as Eccles was finalizing his arrangements.
"It became clear that Mr. Eccles was serious about getting his wife killed, had thought it out, had taken some affirmative steps to put the plan into action," says FBI spokesman Jeff Westcott.
Neighbors said the Eccles were nice and kept to themselves, no different than just about everyone else in the neighborhood.
"It's flabbergasting if you want to use that kind of term," says neighbor Dan Martin. "I had no idea."
No one was at the Eccles home when Monday afternoon. Later, his parents returned home but told your Home Team they didn't want to talk about it.
Eccles was charged in court Monday with hiring someone for a murder across state lines. He will be in court again Wednesday when a judge will determine his bond amount if he is not remanded.
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