A murder for hire trial has got underway in the United States this week, if found guilty of all of the charges levelled against him, the defendant could receive a maximum prison sentence of 250 years.
Kelly J. Polatis stands accused of 4 counts of witness tampering and a further 13 counts of using interstate commerce in commission of murder for hire. The defendant is accused of attempting to hire an undercover FBI agent, posing as a hit man, to murder five people.
Polatis of St George, Utah, was accused of being involved in a marijuana plant growing business and the five people he was attempting to have murdered had all given evidence against him with regard to this charge. However the allegations for the drug offence were dropped on the same day Polatis was charged with murder for hire.
An associate, who unbeknown to Polatis was working for the authorities, introduced the defendant to the hit man who was in fact an FBI agent. The prosecutors allege that Polatis was plotting to have the five witnesses assassinated ahead of a drug trial in which he was the accused. It’s alleged that Polatis discussed making a 50% down payment to the hit man during a meeting at a Las Vegas casino and hotel.
Defence lawyers are arguing that Polatis was heavily dependent on alcohol during this period and that this led the defendant to say make reckless statements. The defence lawyers have called for a psychologist to give evidence to verify the effects alcohol dependency would have had upon the defendant’s mental state during this period.
The trial continues.