A 34-year-old Odenton man faces up to 10 years in prison after he admitted in Circuit Court yesterday that he offered someone $500 to kill his girlfriend's estranged husband.
Steven Ray Fields of the 400 block of Patuxent Road pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit murder, distribution of cocaine and theft charges stemming from his arrest in 1991 after a three-month police investigation into a drug and fencing operation Fields ran out of his trailer.
Warren M. Davis III, assistant state's attorney, said a police informant gathering information on the fencing operation heard Fields say that he had found someone to kill his girlfriend's estranged husband.
The informant told police, who assigned an undercover officer to approach Fields, pose as a competing hit man and offer to do the job for less money.
Fields agreed to pay the officer $500, undercutting the $1,000 offer Fields said he had, Mr. Davis said.
Fields gave him $200 worth of cocaine as "a kind of down payment," Mr. Davis said.
During the investigation, undercover officers also bought antique rifles worth about $15,000, as well as stolen jewelry and credit cards from Fields before he was arrested, police said.
Mr. Davis said it took more than a year to adjudicate the matter because Fields kept requesting trial delays so he could be evaluated for possible treatment at a Crownsville drug-treatment center.
In June, an accomplice in the ring, Michael Lewis Tyler, 22, of the 7900 block of Telegraph Road, Severn, pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit murder for taking part in one of the meetings where Fields discussed the killing with the undercover officer.
Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. set sentencing for Fields for March 17.
Mr. Davis said he intends to ask for an eight-year prison sentence because of the seriousness of the offense and because several weeks elapsed between when the officer first met Fields and when Fields gave the officer a photograph of the intended victim.
"In this case, he had plenty of time to think about the consequences of what he was doing and back out if he wanted," Mr. Davis said.