This story keeps getting curiouser and curiouser just like that it was out of Alice in Wonderland. It looks like that Steele didn't do a very good job of frisking Fairfax if he couldn't find the recorder. He missed his bet by not using that backhoe.
FBI said Steele soiled himself when confronted with murder-for-hire plot
by Associated Press
Posted on April 27, 2011 at 5:01 PM
Updated today at 5:28 PM
BOISE, Idaho (AP) _ A former Aryan Nations attorney accused of hiring a hit man to kill his wife and mother-in-law thought his wife was having an affair, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. The trial of Edgar Steele started in Boise with prosecutors laying out their case against the 65-year-old in U.S. District Court.
In opening statements, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Haws told jurors
Steele had grown to resent his wife Cyndi Steele and her frequent trips to western Oregon to visit her mother when he orchestrated a botched attempt to kill the two women. "It's a story of a man who wanted to murder his wife, hired somebody to do it and fortunately, they didn't succeed," Haws said.
Prosecutors say Steele offered his handyman, Larry Fairfax, up to
$25,000 to kill the two women with hopes their deaths would leave him with a life insurance payout and the freedom to pursue his own romantic interest with a Russian woman he had met online.
Fairfax later became an undercover FBI informant and prosecutors say he
secretly recorded conversations in which he and Steele discussed the plot.
FBI special agent Mike Sotka testified that law enforcement arrived at Steele's home in June 2010 to make an arrest _ but first they pretended like they were there to tell him his wife had been killed in a car accident.
Sotka said agents wanted to see if Steele would try to use the alibis he
had discussed in the recordings, and he did. When agents told Steele his wife was not dead and Fairfax had acted as an informant, an odor led agents to believe Steele "had defecated himself," Sotka said.
Steele faces charges including the use of interstate commerce facilities
in the commission of murder for hire; use of explosive material to commit a federal felony; possession of a destructive device in relation to a crime of violence; and tampering with a victim.
If convicted of the most serious charge _ possession of a destructive
device _ he could get at least 30 years in prison. Steele contends he is innocent and the victim of a conspiracy by the federal government, which was irritated when he represented groups such as Aryan Nations. Steele's wife has also maintained he is innocent.
Cyndi Steele was in U.S. District Court in Boise when the trial started
Wednesday, which was the couple's 26th wedding anniversary. Defense Attorney Robert McAllister portrayed Steele as a loving husband who suffered a heart attack in late 2009. His wife helped nurse him back to health between trips to Oregon to visit her mother, who had cancer, the attorney said.
"Why would Edgar Steele want to kill his wife and mother in law? And if he did, why would he ask someone like Larry Fairfax to do it?" McAllister said in his opening statement.
McAllister suggested Fairfax wasn't paid, but instead stole silver coins Steele had hidden around his home and made up the murder-for-hire plot to cover his tracks. Fairfax, a father of three, testified that he was desperate for money in the economic downturn and agreed to Steele's scheme, but never intended to carry out the murders.
"I thought there would be a way it could get the money without doing it," said Fairfax, who testified Steele paid him a $10,000 down payment in silver coins. Fairfax testified that Steele grew agitated after he strapped a pipe bomb under his wife's car and it failed to detonate. "He kept frisking me, and showing me his guns. He told me he could bury me in 15 minutes with his backhoe," Fairfax said.
Prosecutors say Fairfax told federal agents about the alleged plot but
neglected to tell them that he'd already planted a pipe bomb under Cyndi Steele's car. Workers at an auto shop found the bomb when she went for an oil change.
Fairfax pleaded guilty to possessing an unregistered firearm and to making a firearm in violation of the National Firearms Act, as part of an agreement with prosecutors. He is being held in the Ada County Jail awaiting his sentencing.