Murder-for-hire schemes are pretty rare in this area, and the one Panama City Police investigators derailed Wednesday especially is---that's because it was plotted by an elderly man.
74 year old Marcellous Dudley was arrested Wednesday after allegedly trying to hire a casual acquaintance he met several months ago to carry out the crime of killing his wife. When Dudley's friend turned him in it prompted investigators to launch an undercover investigation.
Panama City Police Investigators held a press conference Wednesday afternoon and released a few details behind the operation. According to the arrest affidavit, the couple had apparently been going through a divorce which may have played some kind of role in the motive. The report states Dudley paid out $500 to one person and $25 to another as down payment for the murder with the promise of up to $500 more after the job was done. One of those payments went to an undercover investigator. Authorities say they have recorded video and audio of Dudley admitting to the scheme but say thankfully it never went that far.
"This could have easily been a homicide as well as a murder for hire investigation so I want to stress to the public how important it is to report these kinds of activities to us" said Acting Deputy Chief Scott Ervin of the Panama City Police Department.
Dudley has been booked in the Bay County Jail and has been charged with solicitation for murder.