Convicted murderer and prison escapee Richard Matt, shot dead by a border patrol agent last week, once convinced a fellow inmate to post his bail and hire him as a hitman, the New York Times has reported.
Matt was being held in Erie County Holding Center on forgery-related charges in 1991 when another inmate, David Teslar, offered to bail Matt out of jail and pay him $US100,000 to murder Teslar’s then-wife and her parents.
As it turns out, his wife was Desiree Teslar — granddaughter of Warner Bros. founder Harry Warner and heiress to his fortune.
In 1991, David Teslar was sent to the Buffalo, NY, holding center after Desiree Teslar accused him of embezzling more than $US1 million from their joint trust and hiding it in a Swiss bank, according to the Daily Beast.
Matt agreed to be David Teslar’s hitman but told Desiree about her husband’s plan before ever going through with it.
“When I got out, I notified his wife,” Matt said during a 1995 parole hearing, according to the Times. “I said: ‘Look, you know, this guy bailed me out of jail. He put a hit on you.'”
After the hearing, the Feds asked Matt to help them bust Teslar for the murder-for-hire scheme, but Teslar’s lawyers got him to plead guilty to two charges of conspiracy before any evidence unearthed by Matt could be used against him. Teslar spent five years in prison, married a photographer and moved to Reading, Pennsylvania.
“I wasn’t planning on killing no one,” Matt reportedly told the parole board.
But it is unlikely that Matt, a career criminal who would go on to kill and dismember his former boss, had any moral qualms about the murder-for-hire plot.
After he and fellow inmate David Sweat escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in early June, Detective Gabriel DiBernardo told The New York Times that “you can never have enough security with him [Matt]” or “turn your back on him” because of his success in eluding police — he had already escaped from jail once in 1986.
“He is the most vicious, evil person I’ve ever come across in 38 years as a police officer.”
Telstar’s lawyers believe Matt, a reported master of manipulation, simply used David for his bail money and for leverage in reducing the charges pending against him.
“He knows his way around a prison and he can use someone like Mr. Telstar as a vehicle to get out of their charges,” Andrew LoTempio, one of David Telstar’s co-counsels in his criminal case, told the Daily Beast. “That was our position, that Matt goes after his [David’s] papers and then tells everyone that he was offered money in return for killing his wife.”
“[Richard] Matt set the whole thing up and David [Telstar] bailed him out and then Matt turned on him,” another Telstar lawyer, Jim Harrington, told The Daily Beast.
After nearly three weeks on the run, Matt, 48, was shot and killed last Friday by a border patrol agent in Malone, New York. He is survived by his estranged 23-year-old son, but no one has claimed his body.
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