Former Pittsburgh man accused of plotting his wife’s murder pleads guilty in federal court

November 23, 2018

A former Pittsburgh man accused of plotting the murder of his wife pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady announced.

Brad Lanese, 52, of the Brookline neighborhood, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon to one count of using interstate commerce facilities in connection with a murder for hire.

Federal authorities said Lanese and two associates -- identified only as C.B. and his wife, L.D. -- ran a large marijuana growing operation in Northern California.

Lanese was asked to leave the property when he and his wife were having difficulties, according to a federal news release.

Lanese reportedly contacted a confidential source for the Drug Enforcement Agency while back in Pittsburgh, and asked the source to travel with him to California in order to rob C.B. and L.D. of the operation’s profits.

Authorities said he and the source met with an undercover DEA operative, Nov. 1, 2017 in California.

Lanese said he no longer wanted to commit robbery, but instead wanted the operative to kill L.D.

The plan was to inject L.D. with a fatal dose of a heroin/fentanyl mix in the marijuana fields, and push her and her car over a cliff into the Pacific Ocean.

Back in Pittsburgh, Lanese agreed to pay the operative $30,000 for the murder. Lanese was charged Dec. 8 and arrested at his Brookline home.

Judge Bissoon scheduled sentencing for March 14. Lanese could be sentenced to 10 years in prison, a $1 million fine, or both.

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