Feb. 29, 2012 at 12:44 PM ET
You can order a bouquet of roses on flowers.com, a novel from books.com and new lenses from contacts.com. So why shouldn't you be able to put a price on someone's head using hitmanforhire.net? Don't laugh — because a man really was foolish enough to offer his services as a contract killer using that very domain.
Before you rush to give this fella the benefit of the doubt and suggest that he might've simply been extremely brilliant and hidden his criminal enterprise in plain sight, you should consider that even the Web developer he'd hired to build his website couldn't take him seriously. The entire tale sounds like something straight out of a funny movie.
And it might even become a funny movie. Hitmanforhire.net was recently acquired by a production company which is claiming to be working on a film about the bumbling contract killer.
We're not entirely confident that this claim will truly be followed by some sort of cinematic blockbuster as Michael Duke Productions, the company which currently owns the hitmanforhire.net domain, doesn't seem to have put much effort into crafting (or proofreading) the current site. But who knows? Even the leanest filmography can be deceptive.
Movie or no movie, we can still learn about the history of hitmanforhire.net and its original owner thanks to the LA Times' Victoria Kim, who wrote up a thorough report of the entire — and extremely bizarre — tale (which thankfully never resulted in any deaths).
The main character in the story is Essam Ahmed Eid, an Egyptian-born man who worked as a poker dealer in Las Vegas. In 2006, he suddenly decided to change careers, hiring a Florida-based man to build hitmanforhire.net. After launching the site, Eid did "what any modern-day neophyte would do with a new task." He turned to Google.
Yes, you read that right — the contract killer turned to Google to research killing methods and murder weapons. As Kim reveals:
Between numerous searches for Clay Aiken — Eid's wife was an avid fan — [an FBI agent] found records showing that Eid had surfed the Web about his new trade. He looked up how to make a homemade silencer from toilet parts, attempted to place an Internet order for cyanide, and researched ricin — the castor bean-derived poison famously used in the 1978 assassination of Bulgarian dissident journalist Georgi Markov through an umbrella gun.
It didn't take long for people to inquire about Eid's services, explains Kim. "A fifth-grade girl in Kentucky wanted another girl in her class dead. Several volunteered to kill for hire. One woman wanted help committing suicide."
Eid was in business now! But despite all the thorough research he conducted and even though he'd made highly toxic ricin powder in his garage, the man didn't seem to be keen on the idea of actually killing someone. Whenever a customer put out a hit, Eid took a cash deposit and then approached the would-be-victim with an offer to spare his or her life in exchange for an additional fee.
Naturally that's how he got caught in the end.
One of the individuals Eid attempted to extort approached the FBI after the man showed up in her home and explained that her ex-boyfriend deposited $17,000 to have her "done by a shot in the head." Eid would let her live if she paid the balance on the $37,000 job within three days. For some inexplicable reason, he gave her his real name during his strange business proposal.
The upshot, leaving out some amazing twists and turns from Kim's comedy of errors, is thatEid found himself in the middle of a six-week trial in Dublin in 2008. He was "convicted of extortion and burglary, but acquitted of solicitation of murder." He was sentenced to six years of prison time there and another 33 months after being extradited to the United States. He is currently in a federal prison in Mississippi, but may be released as early as Nov. 2013.
There's no word on when the corresponding movie will supposedly hit theaters.
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