Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Police: At least 10 people were involved in Carrollton murder-for-hire
Officers found a wire transfer for $65,000 from the victim's husband to alleged hit man Derrick Johnson.
CARROLLTON Three more people have been implicated in the developing case of what police are calling a failed hit-for-hire attempt.
John Franklin Howard, 52, who was recently released on a $1 million bond, has been charged with criminal solicitation for allegedly hiring a hitman to kill his wife, Nancy Howard.
So far 10 individuals appear to have some involvement in the shooting that took place August 18 in Carrollton and resulted in the loss of Nancy Howard's left eye and partial movement in her right arm.
Michael Alan Speck has a warrant for his arrest for criminal solicitation, a first-degree felony.
According to Speck's arrest warrant, on August 24 Billie Johnson - who police say was hired by John Howard to kill Howard's wife - told officers he had information regarding the shooting of Nancy Howard.
Johnson has been identified as the stepfather of Dustin Hiroms, another individual who has been arrested for criminal solicitation in regards to the shooting. Johnson contacted officers shortly after the August 18 shooting to inform them of information regarding the case. Johnson told officers he had several conversations with John Howard regarding the contract killing of Nancy Howard and that several other family members were also in contact with Howard.
Johnson would not identify other suspects by name, but provided the initials "MAS" and "RCR."
On August 27, Carrollton police officers obtained and executed a search warrant at John Howard's employer, Raley Holdings, LLC. During the search, officers found a wire transfer receipt showing that Howard wired $65,000 to Derrick Johnson on October 20, 2010.
According to Speck's arrest warrant, Johnson told officers "MAS" was the shooter and had "[expletive] you" tattooed across his eyelids. Johnson also told officers that "RCR" had a darker complexion and was either "Mexican or Indian." Johnson said the two suspects were his friends and currently in Texas.
Police identified "MAS" as Michael Alan Speck, Billie Johnson's nephew. Derrick Wayne Johnson, who police say was also paid by John Howard, has been identified as Billie Johnson's son.
According to the affidavit, both men were solicited by, and received money from, John Howard.
According to the affidavit, Dustin Hiroms told officers Speck has an "I heart U Kayla" tattoo on his eyelids. Kayla is reported as being the mother of Speck's child. Speck had just moved from New Mexico to Texas and was driving a white Saturn Ion with New Mexico license plates when Hiroms was interviewed.
Hiroms confirmed that after Billie Johnson's arrest, Speck began negotiating with John Howard directly and received thousands of dollars from Howard. Hiroms also told officers that Speck had a brother named Ryan Casey Rogers, consistent with the initials (RCR) Johnson gave officers. Additionally, Hiroms confirmed that Derrick Johnson was also solicited and received money from John Howard.
Michael Plemon, a relative of Speck's girlfriend, Kayla, said the family was shocked when they learned of Speck's involvement in the case.
"Michael and Kayla had just gotten back together because he had recently done a stint in prison," Plemon said. "They were getting back on track. Everything was looking good for them, so the idea that this came up and he was arrested for this was pretty devastating to the whole family - at least on Kayla's side."
Plemon said the couple moved from New Mexico to Nevada to start a new life.
"[Speck] was working up here and things were looking good for them," he said. "Then, all of the sudden, they decided to up and move [to Texas] because there was more work available or something."
Speck did not divulge any other information to Plemon about where the couple was going to live or where they were moving in the state.
"[Speck] was just going to go to Texas to work for his uncle," Plemon said. "His uncle evidently had a lot of work for him to do. Michael was a relatively nice, easy-going guy. He was soft spoken, he didn't seem to have a violent temperament at all - he was a nice, personable guy. He's a nice man, hard worker, a good father ... and for this to all come about just blew us out of the water."
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