Killer who's on the loose connected to bizarre murder plot involving a Hollywood heiress

Richard MattNew York State Police via APThis May 20, 2015 photo released by the New York State Police shows Richard Matt.

Convicted killer Richard Matt is the subject of an intense manhunt, after he and another prisoner at New York’s maximum-security Clinton Correctional Facility escaped from their cells on Saturday.

Matt — a 48-year-old upstate New York native — landed in Clinton for murdering and dismembering a 76-year-old in 1997, but has led a life in and out of prisons. “Law enforcement in Western New York are all too familiar with him,” according to The Buffalo News, and he “had a record of felony convictions.”

Perhaps the most bizarre crime that Matt was involved with unfolded in the early 1990s, as he found himself at the center of a murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by a fellow inmate at the Erie County Holding Center.

The man behind the plot was David Telstar, a prominent California socialite who was married to the granddaughter of a Warner Bros. founder. Telstar had landed in jail on allegations he embezzled $US1.6 million from his wife.

After being released from the Erie County Holding Center in December 1991, Telstar bailed Matt out and allegedly tried to involve the then-25-year-old in an elaborate murder scheme, according to The Buffalo News.

Telstar was charged with trying to hire Matt to murder his wife, Desiree Telstar, and her parents — Los Angeles Police Commission President Stanley Sheinbaum and Betty Warner Sheinbaum, the daughter of Harry Warner, the Los Angeles Times reported in January 1992. Matt was also told to kill a former business associate of the Telstars, prosecutors said.

Instead, after Telstar paid his bail, Matt turned to the local authorities, revealed the details of Telstar’s plan. Matt told the US Attorney’s office that that “Telstar told him where to find the intended victims and what to do with their bodies” and “alleged that Telstar’s instructions were to burn Desiree’s body so no one could identify it,” according to the LA Times.

Matt reportedly did not receive any sort of deal for his cooperation in Telstar’s case, the LA Times reported, and was even issued a bulletproof vest because he feared there was a “backup killer.”

Telstar eventually pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and sentenced to five years in a federal prison, according to the Buffalo News.

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