Livingston Parish man takes plea deal in alleged murder-for-hire plot
BATON ROUGE - A man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his role in an alleged murder-for-hire scheme targeting the ex-wife of Baton Rouge auto dealer Hamid Ghassemi.
The EBR District Attorney's Office says 23-year-old Tyler Ashpaugh will receive a 40-year sentence if he testifies truthfully at the trials of his co-defendants. Ashpaugh, Ghassemi, and two other men were all charged in the 2015 murder of the salesman's ex-wife, Taherah Ghassemi.
Taherah was found shot in the head and buried in a remote part of St. Helena about a month after she went missing back in 2015. She had been missing since that April, when her car was found burned out in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Tyler Ashpaugh, Skyler Williams and Daniel Richter, all from Livingston Parish, were soon arrested in connection with Ghassemi's disappearance and subsequent death. Her husband was also arrested for his suspected involvement.
Detectives said Ghassemi was in the middle of a bitter divorce settlement worth more than a million dollars when he arranged to have her kidnapped and killed. Court records showed Ghassemi married her husband in Iran before he moved to the United States on a student visa. While in the U. S. he remarried an American while remaining married to his wife in Iran. The records showed Hamid tried to challenge the legitimacy of his marriage to Tahereh, but the court sided with her and ordered him to pay her more than a million dollars and give her two pieces of property.
Hamid Ghassemi owned Import One and Import One Elite on Airline Highway at the time of his wife's murder.
Ashpaugh had admitted to his role in the kidnapping in late 2015 and agreed to testify against his accused co-conspirators in exchange for a lesser sentence. Ghassemi is due back in court July 18. Williams and Richter are scheduled for court appearances on Aug. 27 and Oct. 22 respectively.
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