herald

Monday 24 November 2014

Plot to kill Bieber

AN IMPRISONED man whose infatuation with Justin Bieber included a tattoo of the pop star on his leg has told investigators he hatched a plot to kill the singer, according to documents filed in a US court.

An affidavit filed in Las Cruces, New Mexico, said Dana Martin told investigators he persuaded a man he met in prison and the man's nephew to kill Bieber, along with Bieber's personal bodyguard and two others not connected to the pop star.

The plot contained several gruesome details. Investigators say the plotters wanted to castrate two of the victims with hedge clippers before travelling to New York City to find Bieber. The targets of the castration plot were not connected to Bieber, authorities say, and it doesn't appear that the pop singer was ever in immediate danger of falling victim to the plot.

Martin, a Vermont man who is serving two life sentences for the 2000 killing of a 15-year-old girl, said he was angry at Bieber because he didn't respond to any of his letters. "This perceived slight made Mr Martin upset and that, coupled with Mr Martin's perception of being a 'nobody' in prison, led him to begin plotting the kidnap and murder of Victim 3," court documents said.

The documents identified Victim 3 as "JB," which New Mexico State Police spokesman Lieutenant Robert McDonald later confirmed was Justin Bieber.

Martin told investigators that Mark Staake and Tanner D Ruane headed from New Mexico to the East Coast, planning to be near a Bieber concert scheduled in New York City after killing and castrating two others. But authorities say they missed a turn and crossed into Canada from Vermont. Staake was arrested on an outstanding warrant. Ruane was arrested later. Court documents say Martin told investigators that Bieber was the "ultimate target". No one was killed in the alleged elaborate plot.

New York State Police said troopers recovered tools and documents associated with the conspiracy while during a search warrant on Ruane's vehicle. Among the items found by troopers were a "hand-written drawing of a depiction of Justin Bieber" and documents about the intended victims in Vermont.

Staake (41), of Albuquerque, has been charged with two counts each of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in connection to the plan.

Ruane (23), Staake's nephew, is also facing multiple charges related to the plot.

Clinton Norris, of the New Mexico State Police investigations bureau in Las Cruces, said in an affidavit that Martin instructed the suspects to strangle the two first intended targets with paisley neckties, the same kind used in his 2000 murder case. The documents do not give details on how they were to kill Bieber.

Lt McDonald declined to say if any of the murder charges are linked to Bieber.

hnews@herald.ie

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