NEWARK, N.J. – A Middlesex County man was sentenced to 97 months in prison for plotting to pay a purported hitman to kill his ex-wife and her daughter, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Michael Stewart, 69, of Monroe Township, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Julien Xavier Neals to an information charging him with one count of the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder for hire. Judge Neals imposed the sentence on May 2, 2023, in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
In the summer of 2021, Stewart and a confidential source discussed the murder of Stewart’s ex-wife and her daughter. Stewart indicated he would pay for the murders and asked the confidential source to find a hitman. In October 2021, Stewart met with an undercover agent – whom he believed to be a hitman – and told him he wanted the ex-wife’s daughter killed first, followed by the ex-wife. He told the undercover agent he would pay for the killings and provided him with names, addresses, layout of the victims’ property and types of cars used by the victims. Stewart also showed the undercover agent a photo of his ex-wife. He provided the undercover agent $500 as a partial payment.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Neals sentenced Stewart to three years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation leading to the sentencing.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Olta Bejleri of the Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.