Grand jury indicts soldier in Ada murder plot

Tonia Mullins (left), and Regina Hercules

Tonia Mullins (left), and Regina Hercules

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — A federal grand jury has indicted a U.S. Army soldier from Oklahoma for allegedly plotting to murder his wife, authorities said.

Michael Andrew Crawford, 26, who is deployed to South Korea, was indicted in U.S. District Court in Muskogee on a charge of conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire, U.S. Attorney Sheldon Sperling said Monday.

Crawford, who is stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, is accused of discussing with an Ada woman the possibility of killing his wife in order to collect on a $250,000 life insurance policy, Sperling said in a news release. Killing her also would ensure Crawford could maintain custody of his 18-month-old daughter, the prosecutor said.

The murder plot was not carried out.

Prosecutors believe Crawford wanted to marry Tonia Mullins, 32, the woman with whom he allegedly discussed the plot. Mullins pleaded guilty earlier this month to conspiracy and murder-for-hire and faces up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Regina Hercules, Crawford's aunt, offered to help put up collateral for a hit man, Sperling said. Hercules, 42, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and murder-for hire and could face the same punishment as Mullins, authorities said.

If convicted, Crawford could receive up to 10 years imprisonment and/or up to a $250,000 fine.

He also faces state charges in Pontotoc County of solicitation for murder in the first degree and conspiracy to commit murder.

A warrant for his arrest was issued on Sept. 19.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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