Cook County Jail

Murder Suspect Charged With Trying to Hire Undercover Cop to Kill Witnesses

A man being held at the Cook County Jail on murder charges for a 2016 shooting is accused of trying to hire someone to kill witnesses in his case.

Justin Smith, 32, has been charged with three counts of solicitation of murder for hire, according to a statement from the Cook County sheriff’s office.

Investigators learned earlier this month that Smith was looking to hire someone to kill three witnesses in his case, the sheriff’s office said. They arranged for an undercover officer to meet with Smith posing as a visitor to the jail, who Smith believed to be a hitman.

Smith offered the officer $5,000 to kill the witnesses, the sheriff’s office said. He was charged with solicitation of murder for hire on Wednesday.

He was denied bail on the new charges during a hearing on Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, authorities said. His next court date was scheduled for Feb. 20.

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Smith, who lives in the Wrightwood neighborhood, has been in custody without bail since February of 2018 on a first-degree murder charge for the shooting of 27-year-old Richard Porter.

Porter, who lived in the Marquette Park neighborhood, was found face-down on a sidewalk with a gunshot wound to the head on Nov. 2, 2016, in the 7300 block of South Maplewood, authorities said. He was dead at the scene.

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