Texas Woman Sentenced to 9 Years for Dark Web Hitman Plot

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Michelle Murphy, a 58-year-old woman from Bedford, Texas, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison for attempting to hire a hitman via the dark web to murder her boyfriend’s lover. The accused pleaded guilty to the murder-for-hire charge and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman, with law enforcement agencies highlighting the case as a warning about the dangers and consequences of using the dark web for illegal activities.

Key Insights

  • Michelle Murphy, 58, from Bedford, Texas, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison after pleading guilty in December 2023 to a murder-for-hire charge.
  • Murphy attempted to hire a hitman on the dark web to kill her boyfriend’s lover. She paid $10,510 in Bitcoin, converted from cash via an ATM.
  • The transaction took place on July 27, 2023.

Michelle Murphy, a 58-year-old woman from Bedford, faced serious legal trouble when she was charged back in September 2023 through a criminal complaint. The charges came from when she tried to hire a hitman on the dark net to kill her boyfriend’s lover at the time, which just shows what in the heart comes out in your actions. Then in December 2023, Murphy eventually pleaded guilty to one count of what is more commonly known on the dark net as murder-for-hire, showing that she had a massive role to play in the plot.

The case eventually came to an end when U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman gave her sentence. Murphy’s actions show the ongoing dangers of using the dark net for illegal activities like murder-for-hire and the very real consequences that can follow if or when you get caught out.

“Michelle Murphy was given a 9-year prison sentence after she pleaded guilty to one count of murder-for-hire in September 2023.”

U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton

Murder-for-hire plots that happen through the dark net have become a huge ongoing problem in the U.S. since its main driver is anonymity, which means it hides the user’s identity very easily, as well as the untraceable nature of cryptocurrency transactions that are used to make these orders. These scary schemes very often involve normal people who try to hire hitmen to “get rid of’ romantic rivals, business associates, or other people who they see as a target, believing they can do so without getting caught out. The dark net gives these criminals a safe platform for these activities, which ends up making it very difficult for law enforcement to watch over and catch criminals like Murphy who plan such plots. 

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are very often used for payments for crimes which also make it even more difficult to trace due to their decentralized and encrypted nature. Apart from these challenges, agencies like Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI are trying to strengthen their efforts to find and bring an end to these criminal networks. They have started using some very advanced tools and also gotten help from international cooperation; law enforcement aims to fight against this growing threat and stop these plots from being carried out over and over again.

The Use of Bitcoin to Fund the Murder Plot

The court documents showed that Murphy used the dark net to arrange a payment of $10,510 which was in Bitcoin for the murder that was supposed to carry out the plot. She converted her cash into cryptocurrency, by using an ATM on at least three separate occasions. To be fair, this was some of the best OpSec steps we’ve seen. She just didn’t go about the rest of this the right way. On July 27, 2023, she transferred around 0.358 Bitcoin (which is equivalent to $10,510 at the time) to a Bitcoin wallet that she thought to be associated with the hired hitman.

After this transfer, federal agents confronted Murphy and her boyfriend. When she was being read her Miranda rights, Murphy then confessed to planning the murder of her boyfriend’s lover after finding out about her boyfriend’s infidelity. She admitted to attempting to hire a hitman to bring an end to the woman that her boyfriend was involved with in life.

“Murphy’s nine-year sentence gives a strong reminder of the real consequences that come with trying to plan crimes through the dark net.”

U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman

“The person who tried to hire a hitman to murder the woman used a dark web moniker ‘LISTMUDI, further linking Murphy to the murder-for-hire,” court documents said, nodding to the fact that Murphy’s Facebook page had several photos of a dog that appears to be a “Mudi” breed.


The sentencing was later announced by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Leigha Simonton, in the news that was released on Thursday. During the sentencing hearing, both the prosecutors and defence attorneys knew that the person who received Murphy’s payment likely never planned actually to carry out the murder like Murphy planned.

Homeland Security Investigations went ahead with the investigation and had help from the police departments of Bedford, Euless, Grapevine, and Hurst. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Weybrecht prosecuted the case.

“This case shows that there are so many potential dangers of using the dark net for illegal activities and how strong the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies are in tracking and bringing to an end these crimes.”

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas

Despite the many stories about hitmen on the darknet, there’s no evidence that these plots have ever been successfully carried out. Most often, these services are scams or traps set by law enforcement to catch would-be criminals, also known as Honeypots. The anonymity of the darknet and the use of cryptocurrencies might make it seem like a safe option, but just a little bit of research will prove hiring a hitman online is throwing your money out the window, and most likely a prison sentence. These operations frequently end with the arrest of the people trying to hire hitmen, rather than the completion of any criminal act.