How far would you go to exact revenge from your former spouse? Take them to court? Vandalize their house? Smash their car? Well, a US woman decided to take her intentions of getting even with her ex-husband to an extreme level: paying a hitman on the 'dark web' to kill him.
Kristy Lynn Felkins, 37, currently from Fallon, Nevada, pleaded guilty on Thursday to the use of commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire. The intended victim, however, was not harmed and the 'hit' was never attempted.
Planning an Assassination
According to court documents, Felkins, a mother of three, confessed to reaching out to a hitman website called Besa Mafia. And why did she do so? To have her ex-husband killed. Besa Mafia functioned on the Tor Network as a "hidden service". The Tor network is an anonymizing, secure, and encrypted protocol that provides privacy for communication and data on the web. It is informally known as the "dark web".
The couple had been married in 2004 in Butte County. Felkins had lived in Orlando till she moved to Nevada last December. She had moved around California prior to that and had lived with her then-husband in North California during the course of the marriage. Between February and May 2016, she communicated regularly with the site's administrator to discuss payment and to organize the assassination of her former husband.
Felkins admitted to transferring 12 bitcoins—which was valued at around $5,000 at the time—for the completion of the deed. She shared the specific location of her ex-spouse with the administrator in order to ensure that the murder could be committed. Felkins also shared other crucial information about her former partner such as his vehicle information, work timings, and other places he could be found if not at home.
Cheated and Facing Justice
Little did Felkins know that the website that she had reached out to (Besa Mafia) to have her ex-husband eliminated was in fact a fraudulent operation. The hit never took place and the bitcoins that she remitted to the site were not refunded. Besa Mafia is not operational anymore. She was caught when the NCIDE (Northern California Illicit Digital Economy) Task Force uncovered her assassination plans.
The task force received information in 2019 that an individual using the profile name 'KBGMKN' had been arranging for the murder of a man residing in Durham, North Carolina. Eventually, the authorities learnt the true identity of the user, Felkins.
According to court documents, during her correspondence with the administrator of Besa Mafia, Felkins stated that "This man mentally, physically, sexually and emotionally abused me. I ran, and then he took my children away from me. He now mentally abuses my children and threatens their physical well-being. He is quite the snake and master manipulater"
The 37-year-old's sentencing is scheduled for 16 June 2022. She faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison. Nevertheless, the actual sentence will be arrived at based on the discretion of the court. Relevant statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines—which consider several aspects—will be taken into account during sentencing.