Press-Republican

Local News

September 28, 2011

Malone man gets prison in 'hit man' case

MALONE — A Malone junk-yard owner will spend five to 15 years in state prison for trying to hire someone to kill his ex-girlfriend.

Clyde M. Gardner, 57, of 402 Brainardsville Road pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy in July and was sentenced Wednesday by Franklin County Court Judge Robert G. Main Jr.

Gardner admitted that last year he gave an acquaintance a photograph of the woman, her license-plate number and the first $500 of a $15,000 agreed-upon price to kill her in a car crash and make it look like an accident.

Gardner instructed the man that if the crash didn't kill her, "to take a piece of the broken windshield and slit her throat," Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Crawford said.

WANTS TO MOVE ON

The pair had been together about five years and had a child, but it was an abusive relationship that involved domestic violence, Crawford said.

The victim was in the courtroom with seven friends and relatives but declined be interviewed.

Through Public Defender Thomas Soucia, she said she wanted to "get on with her life and take care of her child."

STALKED

The woman repeatedly broke up with Gardner; she kicked him out for good on Sept. 25, 2010.

Soon, he became obsessed and began spying on her, prosecutors said.

"He would park a mile away from where she was living and walk through the woods across a river and lay in the back yard, hiding in the woods with binoculars, watching her," Crawford said in an interview with the Press-Republican after the court session.

BEAR DEATH PLOT

The staged car crash that led to his arrest was the second idea Gardner had discussed with the hit man for how he wanted the woman killed.

The original murder plot was for Gardner to hunt down a bear on the man's property then skin it to take off its four claws and its pelt.

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