• Nelson Paul Replogle was sentenced to 87 months in prison
  • He pleaded guilty in October 2021
  • Replogle attempted to hire the contract killer online in April 2021

A Tennessee man has been sentenced to seven years in prison after he tried to hire a contract killer online to murder his wife, using Bitcoin as payment.

Nelson Replogle, 60, from Knoxville has been sentenced to 87 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, a news release from The Department of Justice said Thursday.

Replogle pleaded guilty in late October, and admitted he had contacted a person on the dark web in April 2021, who claimed to arrange a murder-for-hire to kill his wife. He then provided details of his wife, including her name, address and the description of her vehicle, and asked the contract killer to stage it as road rage or carjacking gone wrong.

In exchange for murdering his wife, Replogle made a payment of 0.2924549 Bitcoin, which on the day of payment had an approximate value of $17,853. The transaction was done from a Coinbase wallet that Replogle owned, an investigation later revealed.

Replogle also gave details of the place, date and time where his wife could be found, the prosecutors said. The accused asked the contract killer to execute the crime while his wife drove her car on an errand to the veterinarian, according to the court records, 10 News reported.

However, before Replogle could carry out the murder, The Federal Bureau of Investigation learned about his attempt from a tip-off, and arrested him. Replogle was booked into the Blount County Jail in Tennessee in April 2021.

During interrogation, Replogle, however, initially denied hiring a killer and said he could not think of anyone who would do that. As the killer was provided with exact details of the woman's location, the investigators suspected Replogle and decided to trace the Bitcoin payment used in the transaction.

After determining the transaction was made from CoinBase wallets, the authorities contacted the company CoinBase, who, following a subpoena order, provided the ownership and the transaction history of the digital wallet.

According to records, Replogle taught in a high school in Middleville, Michigan, before he moved into Tennessee. The motive behind hiring the contract killer was not revealed.

A bitcoin is seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, June 23, 2017.
A bitcoin is seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, June 23, 2017. Reuters / BENOIT TESSIER