Man Found Guilty of Attempting to Hire Hit on Mt. Vernon Police Chief
By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A man who attempted to hire a person to kill the Mount Vernon Police chief was found guilty by a jury Thursday in U.S. District Court.
Lorenzo Harris-Thompson, 28, was found guilty of attempted obstruction of justice, attempted murder of a witness and murder for hire after a three day trial. He faces up to 60 years on these charges and a $750,000 fine and up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine for a previous conviction of a firearm charge in a separate case. Sentencing will be set later.
Harris-Thompson, while pending sentencing in the Iowa County Jail after pleading guilty last year to being an unlawful drug user in possession of a firearm, was recorded in phone calls from the jail attempting to hire a hit man to kill Mount Vernon Police Chief Mark Winder.
Harris-Thompson in the phone calls asked Melissa Johnson, 28, to give money to a hit man to prevent Winder from testifying at his sentencing on the firearm charge, according to court documents. Harris-Thompson was afraid Winder’s testimony would increase his prison time and wanted to prevent him from attending.
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