Will County Jail Guard Arrested in Murder for Hire Plot

Held on $2 Million bond

By Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Thursday, Apr 1, 2010  |  Updated 8:29 PM CDT
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A Will County jail guard checked in to a jail of his own this week after scheming to have a man murdered, prosecutors say.

Keith Smith, a correctional officer at the Will County Adult Detention Center, has been charged with one count of solicitation of murder for hire after allegedly approaching an inmate to find someone to kill his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend.

"It takes no pleasure making this release," Will County Sheriff Paul Kaupas said.  "It's disappointing to myself and members of the sheriff's department that a fellow employee would cross the line."

The 29-year-old allegedly put $300 into an inmate's commissary account in exchange for names of people who could pull off the job. Another $1,500 was to be paid once the hit was completed.

Smith was arrested in Hammond, Indiana after meeting with an undercover FBI agent posing as a hitman.

When he called his mother from jail he apparently told her "I tried to get Valerie's boyfriend taken care of,'' officials said. Smith didn't realize all phone calls are taped.

"The public has to trust all sworn law enforcement personnel," said Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow.  "The moment we can't do that, then the rule of law has no meaning."

Smith and the inmate her reportedly approached will be separately transferred to new locations.  He is being held on a $2 million bond and was suspended from his job.

If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison.

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