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Augusta Resident Indicted on Murder-for-Hire Charge

MARTINSBURG, WV—A 49-year-old Augusta, West Virginia, resident was named in an Indictment returned on November 15, 2011, by a Federal Grand Jury sitting in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced that BRENDA LEE SWISHER was named in a two-count Indictment. Count One of the Indictment alleges that SWISHER solicited an individual known to the Grand Jury to maliciously kill another individual on November 1, 2011, in Hampshire County. Count Two of the Indictment alleges that SWISHER caused an individual to travel in interstate commerce from the State of Virginia to Hampshire County to commit a murder-for-hire for $3,500.00.

If convicted, SWISHER faces a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on each count of the Indictment.

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas O. Mucklow. The case was investigated by the Eastern Panhandle Drug & Violent Crime Task Force and the Potomac Highlands Drug & Violent Crime Task Force. The Eastern Panhandle Drug & Violent Crime Task Force consists of officers from the West Virginia State Police—Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Martinsburg Police Department, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department, and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. The Potomac Highlands Drug & Violent Crime Task Force consists of officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, West Virginia State Police—Bureau of Criminal Investigations, and Mineral County Sheriff’s Department.

It should be noted that the charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and not evidence of guilt, and that each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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