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Pembroke man pleads guilty in murder-for-hire plot

The Pembroke man at the center of an elaborate murder-for-hire plot hatched behind the walls of the Merrimack County jail has pleaded guilty.

Over two months in 2012, Brian Schultz conspired to kill his ex-girlfriend and then blackmail men he claimed she was sleeping with as a prostitute, according to court documents. That plan was foiled by an inmate 66-year-old Schultz had recruited to help but who instead became an informant for the police, feeding them details he and Schultz hashed out through passed notes and whispered conversations.

Schultz was charged in May 2012 and pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit murder Friday in Merrimack County Superior Court.

Under the terms of the plea deal, which still must be approved by a judge, he will serve between seven and 20 years in prison, a lesser sentence than the 30 years he was facing if he had been found guilty at a trial. If Schultz is paroled, he will spend the first year on house arrest while being monitored by an electronic device, according to the deal. He also won’t be allowed to have contact with anyone under the age of 16 without his parole officer’s approval.

And Schultz – who more than two decades ago was involved in what was then the largest child pornography bust in New Hampshire history – will be barred from using a computer upon his release.

The proposed agreement will be reviewed by a judge at a June 19 sentencing.

David Rotman, who is prosecuting the case, and Melinda Siranian, Schultz’s court-appointed lawyer, didn’t return requests for comment yesterday.

The 49-year-old woman Schultz wanted dead also couldn’t be reached for comment; a number previously used to contact her at her Belmont home is now disconnected.

The woman previously told the Monitor that she met Schultz in 2010 on sugardaddy.com, a dating site for individuals seeking wealthy partners, and dated him for about eight months before she broke it off due mostly to what she characterized as his strange sexual proclivities. She denied working as a prostitute.

According to court documents, after the woman and Schultz ended their relationship, she went to the Pembroke police and reported that he hadn’t accurately listed his vehicle and employment with the department, as is required for registered sex offenders. Schultz was charged for that crime and incarcerated at the county jail in Boscawen in October 2011.

He suspected that his ex had tipped off the police, said J.K., the inmate whom he befriended and who shared his story with the Monitor after Schultz was arrested. The man is not being named here because he hasn’t been charged.

J.K., whose chronology of events largely matches the one laid out in the state police affidavit, said Schultz first approached him looking for a “computer guy,” claiming he wanted to hack a woman’s email account. More details of the plan emerged over the coming weeks, said the informant, who said Schultz grew to trust him when he realized he knew J.K.’s father who, like Schultz, had served time for federal crimes.

Schultz then told J.K. he would pay him $5,000 to murder the woman with a gun he would first have to steal from her ex-husband, the informant said. Schultz directed the man to dump her body on the ex-husband’s property, he said.

Schultz claimed to have planted a bug in the woman’s computer, and he described to J.K. how it could be reactivated to gather more information for the extortion plan, the informant said.

J.K. said he never planned to go along with Schultz’s scheme and went to officials at the jail after a few weeks. In April 2012 he agreed to tape his conversations with Schultz, using a recorder he said was sewn into his waistband.

“At that point Schultz was getting close to getting out. . . . So I basically said, ‘Okay, let’s recap everything. I want to make sure I have what you want me to do, meticulous,’ ” the informant said. “He loves to talk. He’s one of those people that if you stand there and just look at him, he’ll talk to just talk.”

J.K. said Schultz also drew pictures of his ex-girlfriend’s home, pointed out where cameras could be placed in her parking lot and gave detailed descriptions of her children. In one note, Schultz called the woman “the target,” according to court documents.

In January, Rotman asked a judge to force Schultz to provide samples of his handwriting, hoping to prove he had created the documents provided by the informant.

Before a judge could rule on the issue, Siranian, Schultz’s lawyer, conceded that the handwriting was his.

The two sides did spar over where Schultz’s trial, which had been scheduled to take place this month, should be held. Siranian petitioned to move it out of Merrimack County, saying the Monitor’s coverage of the case made it impossible for Schultz to find a fair jury. Rotman objected, and a judge denied the request.

In 1990, Schultz was investigated during a four-month FBI sting carried out by two agents, one of them working undercover. That team found that Schultz was copying pornography, depicting sadomasochistic images and children as young as 6, in a Manchester office and distributing the films across New England.

At the time, though, Congress had only just made it illegal to possess child pornography. And Schultz was given a sentence that might seem brief under today’s judicial guidelines: five years in federal prison.

(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or
tnadolny@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @tricia_nadolny.)

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