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Tipsheet

Air National Guardsman Arrested After Applying to Be a Hitman on Parody Website

A Tennessee Air National Guardsman was arrested this month after applying online to be a hitman, the New York Post reported.

Josiah Enesto Garcia, 21, of Hermitage, Tennessee, was charged with the use of interstate facilities in the commission of murder for hire, the Department of Justice shared in a press release on Thursday. Garcia used a parody website called “rentahitman.com” where someone can apply to work as a killer (via the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee): 

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According to the complaint, Garcia needed money to support his family and in mid-February began searching online for contract mercenary jobs and came across the website www.rentahitman.com.  Originally created in 2005 to advertise a cyber security startup company, the company failed and over the next decade it received many inquiries about murder-for-hire services. The website’s administrator then converted the website to a parody site that contains false testimonials from those who have purported to use hit man services, and an intake form where people can request services. The website also has an option for someone to apply to work as a hired killer.

Garcia submitted an employment inquiry indicating that he was interested in obtaining employment as a hit man.  Garcia followed up on this initial request and submitted other identification documents and a resume, indicating he was an expert marksman and employed in the Air National Guard since July 2021.  The resume also indicated that Garcia was nicknamed “Reaper” which was earned from military experience and marksmanship.  Garcia continued to follow up with the website administrator indicating that he wanted to go to work as soon as possible. 

An FBI undercover agent then began communicating with Garcia who subsequently agreed to kill an individual for $5,000.  On Wednesday, Garcia met the undercover agent at a park in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and was provided with a target packet of a fictional individual, which included photographs and other information about the individual to be killed, and a down payment of $2,500.  After agreeing to the terms of the murder arrangement, Garcia asked the agent if he needed to provide a photograph of the dead body.  Garcia was then arrested by FBI agents, who in a subsequent search of his home, recovered an AR style rifle. 

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According to the Post, Garcia will face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. In one of his emails, he reportedly wrote: “Im looking for a job, that pays well, related to my military experience (Shooting and Killing the marked target) so I can support my kid on the way,” and said “What can I say, I enjoy doing what I do, so if I can find a job that is similar to it, (such as this one) put me in coach!” Garcia sent two follow up emails between Feb. 23 and March 13. 

Following an order from the FBI, Bob Innes, the website owner, responded by saying “Josiah, a Field Coordinator will be in touch in the near future. You will receive a message when they are ready. Timing is based on client needs.” 

Reportedly, this is not the first time someone has used the parody website to plan to murder. The Post noted that a man in New Mexico plotted the murder of his in-law on the site, and, in 2020, a woman in Michigan attempted to hire a hitman to have her husband killed for $5000.

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