Stepdaughter Accused Of Arranging Hit In Cold-case Murder
WILKES-BARRE — The stepdaughter of cold-case slaying victim Donald Bachman Jr. was charged Wednesday with orchestrating a hit-for-hire because she was concerned about him reporting neighborhood crime.
Kendra L. Dias, 24, of 114 Hemlock St., Sugar Notch, is charged with conspiracy to commit criminal homicide and solicitation to commit criminal homicide after prosecutors say she paid someone $1,500 to kill Bachman.
“We have a hired hit,” Assistant District Attorney Jarrett Ferentino said in court during Dias’ arraignment. “This was an execution slaying arranged by Ms. Dias.”
Dias told the judge she has two children and is pregnant with a third. She also maintained that she works and has no criminal history.
“I’m ready to stand up for what I did and explain why,” she said.
Bachman, 49, was shot to death outside his home at 62 Willow St., Wilkes-Barre, as he returned from work early the morning of May 1, 2015. His wife reported hearing an argument followed by gunshots, and when police arrived they found Bachman on the ground, bleeding from the right side of his head with six spent .22-caliber shell casings in the area.
While Dias was charged with orchestrating the hit, authorities have not charged anyone with being the actual shooter.
During a news conference announcing the arrest, Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said the investigation is ongoing and that additional arrests were possible.
“We will not back down,” Salavantis said. “This is a case that took nearly 3½ years to get to the point where we’re charging an individual for the murder of Donald Bachman, and I want the community to know that we will remain relentless in the pursuit of justice.”
According to the charges, Dias initially contacted two people identified only as confidential informants to ask if they would help kill her stepfather.
One of those people later told police Dias was concerned that Bachman routinely called the police to report criminal activity in the neighborhood.
He had cameras mounted on his house, and shortly before his death, the people living across the street were arrested after Bachman reported them for drug activity.
Dias told the informant that she believed police would investigate people he reported, and she also thought members of a motorcycle gang he belonged to could be targeted as well, the complaint said.
Dias also provided the informant with information on when Bachman got home from work and where he usually parked, the complaint says.
The informant asked how much she would pay, and Dias said she didn’t have much money but she could come up with $1,000, plus give the killer Bachman’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle, according to the charges.
That informant declined the offer, citing fear of being arrested, but contacted an associate who agreed to do the murder for $5,000, the complaint said.
Dias responded by saying the person would have to wait until after the murder and then her family would get the money, but the person refused the offer, according to the complaint.
According to the complaint, the second informant reported hearing Dias say her mother, Lori Bachman, could immediately pay some money for the hit, and could then pay more after the life insurance money came in.
The two informants told police after the failed negotiations they saw on the news that Bachman had been killed outside his home. They went to the residence and met Dias, and the first informant expressed surprise that Dias found someone to kill Bachman without having any money, according to the complaint.
Dias leaned into their vehicle and laughed, the charges allege.
A day later, the informants again met with Dias and she explained her “people” were upset about having to wait for payment, the complaint says. Dias said she had some crack-cocaine and asked for help selling it to raise the money, and also inquired about the best way to dispose of a gun, according to the complaint.
The second informant asked if Dias knew who killed Bachman, the complaint says.
“I don’t know and you’re better off not knowing,” the complaint quotes Dias as saying.
The charges allege during questioning, Dias admitted to having a “vague conversation” with the first informant about the hit, and that she spoke to a “known individual” about doing it. She also said she told the person she didn’t have the money at the time, but that she might be able to come up with it after Bachman was dead, the complaint says.
The person told Dias that he or she didn’t need information on Bachman’s movements — Dias assumed the person would conduct surveillance prior to the hit.
After the murder, Dias acquired about $1,500 of Bachman’s money and used it to pay the killer, according to the complaint.
Magisterial District Judge Rick Cronauer arraigned Dias on the charges Wednesday morning and set her bail at $1 million.
A preliminary hearing was set for Feb. 28.
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