KEY POINTS

  • John Michael Musbach allegedly attempted to hire a dark web hitman to kill a 14-year-old kid
  • He paid 40 bitcoin, or approximately $20,000 at that time, for the attempted hit
  • Musbach pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in 2017  

A Camden County, New Jersey man who was arrested in 2016 on child pornography charges has been indicted after he allegedly tried to hire a hitman from the dark web to kill a 14-year-old child.

According to a statement released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Wednesday, 31-year-old John Michael Musbach of Haddonfield was indicted on one count of murder-for-hire.

In 2016, Musbach allegedly attempted to solicit the services of a murder-for-hire website on the dark net to kill a 14-year-old, the DOJ said citing court documents. 

"He asked if a 14-year-old was too young to target, and upon hearing that the age was not a problem, paid approximately 40 bitcoin (approximate $20,000) for the hit," the DOJ pointed out. Musbach attempted to cancel the hit and asked for a refund when the service asked for an additional $5,000. Following his request for a cancellation, the website's administrator revealed that the service was a scam and they threatened to reveal Musbach's information to law enforcement.

Authorities caught wind of the abandoned murder-for-hire plot when an informant in 2019 provided law enforcement with messages between Musbach and the service's website.  

"Agents were able to confirm Musbach's identity through several means, including linking him to the same screen name he used to communicate with the murder-for-hire website and also by tracing the flow of monies from Musbach's bank account to the purchase of bitcoin used to pay for the hit," the DOJ said.

Musbach, who was already being investigated by the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office for previous child pornography offenses prior to Wednesday's arrest, is facing a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine greater than $250,000.

On Oct. 11, 2017, Musbach pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child by sexual contact and received a two-year suspended sentence with parole supervision for life. He was arrested by authorities for sending sexually explicit photos and videos to a 13-year-old in 2015 and requesting the child to do the same.

It was unclear if the target of his abandoned hit and the victim from 2015 were the same person.

The schedule for his arraignment will be decided at a later date. 

bitcoin-1813503_1920 Representation. Musbach paid 40 bitcoin, or approximately $20,000 back then, for the hit. Photo: Pixabay