CHEYENNE, Wyoming — A Wyoming State Penitentiary inmate pleaded guilty Monday to trying — from behind bars — to hire a hit man to kill his mother and stepfather so he could collect life insurance money and inherit their house.
Andrew Silicani, 23, of Cheyenne pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to four counts of using the mail in his unsuccessful plan to hire someone to carry out the murders. He faces up to 40 years at sentencing this summer.
"I think it's fair to say you'll be looking at some time in custody," U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal told Silicani as she advised him of his rights.
Silicani pleaded guilty to all charges against him with no agreement from prosecutors to recommend a lesser sentence.
Defense lawyer James Barrett told Freudenthal that Silicani had rejected a plea offer from federal prosecutors that would have capped his prison time at 35 years and blocked the possibility that state prosecutors will seek to charge him with separate violations of state law.
Speaking after the hearing, Barrett said he thinks it's likely that Silicani will face additional state prosecution. Barrett said Silicani's decision to reject the federal plea offer reflected Silicani's view that a 35-year federal sentence would be excessive.
Recounting his actions to support his guilty pleas, Silicani told Freudenthal, "I used the mail, wrote four letters asking for this to be done — for the murders of my mom and stepdad. I understand what I've done. I felt that pleading guilty would be best."
Silicani told the judge he regarded his actions as "a big error in judgment — I'd take it back if I could."
Silicani was serving time at the state prison in Rawlins on a robbery conviction when he wrote the letters, Barrett said after the hearing.
According to an FBI agent's statement filed in court, a confidential source contacted prison staff in November and reported that Silicani had asked if the source would be willing to kill Silicani's mother and stepfather. Investigators had the source direct Silicani to correspond with an FBI agent posing as a hit man.
Silicani provided the supposed hit man with the names and address of his parents and said he didn't want to pay more than $100,000 for the "demolition work." Court records said Silicani expected to receive $850,000 in life insurance and property.
The confidential source told law enforcement that Silicani was excited at the prospect of the murders and said he planned to buy, "a Cadillac Escalade, clothes and jewelry."