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Mt. Vernon Man Sentenced in Murder for Hire Scheme Against Police Chief

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A Mount Vernon man who attempted to hire a hit man to kill the Mount Vernon Police chief last year was sentenced Wednesday to 70 years in federal prison.

Lorenzo Harris-Thompson, 30, was found guilty by a jury in June of attempted murder of a witness, murder for hire and attempted obstruction of justice and he pleaded in 2011 to possession of a firearm as an unlawful user of marijuana in U.S. District Court.

Evidence at trial showed Mount Vernon Police searched Harris- Thompson's house Sept. 8, 2010, and officers recovered firearms in the home. After pleading guilty to the firearms charge he was in the Iowa County Jail pending sentencing when he attempted to hire a person to kill Mount Vernon Police Chief Mark Winder. Harris-Thompson wanted to prevent Winder from testifying at his sentencing. because he thought Winder's testimony would increase his prison time.

Harris-Thompson had a woman make a payment to an undercover officer who was portraying himself to be a contract killer, according to testimony. Harris-Thompson made the arrangements to commit these crimes from his jail cell and made phone calls from the jail, which were recorded.