MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WZTV) — Two men are in custody after investigators foiled a murder for hire conspiracy against a Murfreesboro man. Authorities say they caught the plot stretching from Humboldt to Murfreesboro just three hours before the killing was set to happen.
Stephen Taylor, 43, of Murfreesboro, and Gregory Barnes, 22, of Humboldt, are in custody of the Gibson County Sheriff's Office in connection to the murder for hire conspiracy.
The West Tennessee Drug Task Force and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Feb. 6 starting investigating accusations that Taylor hired Barnes to kill a Murfreesboro man who was a potential witness against Taylor in a Feb. 8 hearing in Rutherford County Circuit Court.
Taylor was facing a burglary and aggravated assault charge, where authorities say the Murfreesboro man was the target of the victim.
Agents tell FOX 17 News the murder plot was born in the Gibson County Jail where Barnes and Taylor were both serving weekend sentences on drug charges. The drug task force reported that Taylor gave Barnes details about the man he wanted killed like a photo of the intended victim, his vehicle description, his place of employment and work hours, and his home address.
The TBI took the intended victim into protective custody on Feb. 7 then arranged a sting that ended with Barnes being arrested on Highway 45 between Milan and Medina. Investigators believe he was on his way to Murfreesboro.
Agents then obtained an arrest warrant in Gibson County for Taylor who was taken into custody in Murfreesboro by the TBI and Murfreesboro SWAT members.
Taylor was moved from the Rutherford County Jail to the Gibson County Jail where he remains without bond awaiting arraignment. Barnes is being held on a $500,000 bond.