Wired Magazine recently published an investigation into the world of deep web hitmen and the people that hire them.
In an article titled “If You Want to Kill Someone, We Are The Right Guys,” Wired Magazine tells the story of an IT support technician named Stephen Allwine who attempted to hire a deep web hitman to murder his wife. Allwine used the deep web and Bitcoin to hire what he believed to be a hitman linked to the Albanian mafia.
That evening he gave himself another birthday present. Using the email address email@example.com, he wrote to a person he knew only as Yura. “I have the bitcoins now,” he said.
Yura ran a site called Besa Mafia, which operated on the dark web and was accessible only through anonymous browsers like Tor. More important for Allwine’s purposes, Besa Mafia claimed to have ties to the Albanian mob and advertised the services of freelance hit men. The site’s homepage featured a photo of a man with a gun and no-nonsense marketing copy: “If you want to kill someone, or to beat the shit out of him, we are the right guys.”
Yura promised that customers’ money was held by an escrow service and paid out only after a job was completed. But Allwine worried that when he deposited money it would simply end up in someone’s bitcoin wallet. He wanted Yura’s claims to be true, though, so against his better instincts he transferred the bitcoin. “They say that Besa means trust, so please do not break that,” he wrote Yura. “For reasons that are too personal and would give away my identity, I need this bitch dead.”
“This bitch” was Amy Allwine, his wife.
Allwine provided the deep web hitman known as Yura with details of his wife and a photo of her, asking Yura to make the murder look like an accident:
The day after Stephen bought the bitcoin, he uploaded a photo of Amy to Allwine.net. The picture had been taken on a family vacation to Hawaii, and it showed Amy wearing a teal shirt, with a broad smile on her tan and freckled face. About 25 minutes after he posted the image, Stephen logged in to his dogdaygod email account and sent Yura the link. “She is about 5’6″, she looks about 200lbs,” he wrote. The best time to kill her, he continued, would be on an upcoming trip to Moline, Illinois. If the hit man could make her death look like an accident—by, say, ramming her Toyota Sienna minivan on the driver’s side—he would throw in a few more bitcoin.
Yura confirmed the details shortly afterward in awkward English. “He will wait her at the airport, tail her with the stolen car, and when he has the chance will cause a car accident to kill her.” If the car accident didn’t work out, he added, “the hitman will shoot her deadly.” Later he reminded dogdaygod to concoct an alibi: “Please make sure you are sorrounded [sic] by people most of the days, and spend some money to shop things on malls or public places where they have video surveillance.”
However, Allwine’s plans were set back after a data leak revealed a number of private messages from the Besa Mafia deep web page were leaked:
In April 2016, about two months after Stephen first ordered the hit on his wife, Besa Mafia was hacked and Yura’s messages with clients—including dogdaygod—were dumped in an online pastebin. The data dump revealed that users with names like Killerman and kkkcolsia had paid tens of thousands of dollars in bitcoin to have people killed in Australia, Canada, and Turkey, as well as the United States. The hit orders soon reached the FBI, which directed local field offices across the country to make contact with the intended victims named in the Besa Mafia data dump. FBI special agent Asher Silkey, who worked in the bureau’s Minneapolis field office, learned that someone going by the name dogdaygod wanted Amy Allwine killed. He was tasked with warning her of the threat on her life.
On a cloudy Tuesday afternoon just after Memorial Day, Silkey enlisted the help of Terry Raymond, an officer with the local police force, and they drove to the Allwines’ house. Cottage Grove is a sleepy exurb, but, like police departments around the country, the local cops had been called on to address online threats with increasing frequency. Raymond, a reserved man with angular features accented by a trim beard, had been on the force for 13 years and was the department’s designated computer forensics specialist.
However, this didn’t stop Allwine’s plans entirely, they just took a different form, unfortunately involving his own son:
As dusk fell, Stephen drove to get gas, then retrieved the boy from his in-laws’ house and took him to Culver’s, a family-style restaurant chain. It was their Sunday night routine—dinner at Culver’s while Amy led dog-training courses—and they sat in the brightly lit space eating chicken tenders and grilled cheese.
When they returned home, the boy climbed out of the minivan and ran into the house, toward his parents’ bedroom. Amy’s body lay in an unnatural position, blood pooled around her head. The Springfield XDS 9 mm was at her side.
Stephen called 911.
“I think my wife shot herself,” he said. “There’s blood all over.”
Through a series of investigations, it was discovered that Allwine had poisoned his wife with a large dose of scopolamine before he shot her dead with their gun before moving the body into the bedroom, staging her murder as a suicide. Read more about how law enforcement discovered Allwine’s crimes here.