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Man tied to 2015 murder-for-hire plot pleads guilty to manslaughter
BATON ROUGE - On Monday, one of four men charged in a 2015 murder-for-hire plot decided to forgo a trial and plead guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter.
Skyler Williams was one of three men hired by Hamid Ghassemi to kill his ex-wife Tahereh Ghassemi after their divorce in 2015.
Williams, Daniel Richter and Tyler Ashpaugh were all arrested for first-degree murder and then took a plea deal for a lesser sentence. First-degree murder holds a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
According to an account of the kidnapping given by Richter, the three men had been solicited by Ghassemi to kidnap and kill his estranged wife and another person at her home in April 2015.
Richter allegedly waited outside Tahereh's home while the other two held her at gunpoint and waited for their second target to come to the same home. Richter said he became impatient and ran inside, telling the other two they had to take Tahereh immediately.
A struggle ensued, and Williams allegedly placed Tahereh in a choke hold before the three injected her with drug that rendered her unconscious. The group then placed her in the trunk of her own vehicle and drove both vehicles out to a grave they previously dug in a remote area in St. Helena Parish.
Once they arrived at the predetermined location, Ashpaugh allegedly shot her in the head. However, the three men were apparently unable to find the grave they had dug earlier and ultimately decided to cover her body in the brush.
After the killing, Richter said the three returned to Hamid Ghassemi's business on Airline Highway, Import One, to exchange their vehicle and meet him for payment. They eventually met at Ghassemi's home, where the victim's ex-husband allegedly gave them money to buy gasoline so they could burn Tahereh's car in East Baton Rouge.
Richter said he returned to the grave site the next morning to bury the body.
At the time of his arrest, Hamid was in the middle of a divorce settlement worth more than $1 million.
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