A York-area business owner accused of hiring a hit man to kill his wife's lover has again been arrested, this time along with his son, for their alleged involvement in a second murder-for-hire plot.
State police allege Gregory Allen Hess, 46, offered an inmate he met in York County Prison $15,000 to kill an informant who testified against him at the preliminary hearing in the first alleged murder-for-hire.
Hess' son, Toby Allen Hess, 18, used a cellphone to photograph the unnamed informant, who is identified in Gregory Hess' charging documents as confidential informant 1, during the May 9 preliminary hearing before District Judge Richard Martin II in York City.
Toby Hess was to pass those photos on to the inmate, identified as confidential informant 2, according to the charging documents.
The York County District Attorney's Office announced that state police troopers arrested Gregory Hess for the second time on Wednesday.
At the time of his arrest, he had been free on $10 million bail, believed to be the highest ever set in York County.
In a news release, Kyle King, spokesman for the district attorney's office, noted this is the second time in less than two months that Hess has been arrested in connection with a murder-for-hire plot.
Paper trail: While in prison, Gregory Hess gave informant 2 two handwritten notes, one of which had directions to informant 1's home in Harrisburg, documents state.
The second note listed part of informant 1's name and two phone numbers, one that was a cellphone number with the name "Toby" written beside it, documents state.
The listed subscriber of that cellphone is Keystone Restorations, the company co-owned by Gregory Hess, documents state.
Gregory Hess told informant 2 that he'd pay him half of $15,000 up front and the "remainder of the money when the job was complete," documents state.
Informant 2 was to be released from prison around May 25 and was interviewed by state police about the murder-for-hire plot on Monday, documents state.
When interviewed by state police, Toby Hess admitted to taking pictures of informant 1 and to telling his father he did so. Gregory Hess told his son to keep the photos, according Toby Hess' charging documents.
Toby Hess told investigators he "made a big mistake by keeping the photo," documents state.
Police found the cellphone with photographs of informant 1 on Toby Hess when he was arrested, document state.
Gregory Hess is charged with solicitation of criminal homicide. Toby Hess is charged with conspiracy to intimidate a witness. Both are in York County Prison, with Gregory Hess denied bail and Toby Hess on $250,000 bail.
Both live at 1950 Hoff Road in North Codorus Township,
Previous case: Gregory Hess was previously charged with solicitation to commit homicide on April 18, accused of paying informant 1 to kill Christopher Ward, who was involved with Hess' wife, Laurie Hess.
Gregory Hess' defense attorney, Farley Holt had said there might have been an agreement with the informant, "but it was not to kill (anyone)."
State police set up a sting operation that included taking a photo of Ward lying in a parking lot, covered in fake blood and appearing to be dead, testimony at Gregory Hess' preliminary hearing revealed. The photo was to make Gregory Hess believe Ward had been murdered, according to testimony.
Gregory Hess agreed to pay that informant between $30,000 and $50,000 to kill Ward and then kill Laurie Hess "one, two or three weeks" later, informant 1 said during the May 9 preliminary hearing, adding Hess gave him photos of Ward and his home.
No exact dollar amount for the hits was finalized, state police Trooper Shawn Wolfe said at the hearing.
Gregory Hess was initially denied bail by District Judge Martin, but York County Common Pleas Judge Thomas H. Kelley reversed that decision, setting bail at $10 million during a bail hearing on May 23, according to court records.
Bail: With bail set, it didn't take Gregory Hess long to gain his freedom. He was released from prison on May 30 after bondsman James Fabie posted his bail.
At the time, York County Clerk of Courts Don O'Shell questioned if Fabie had the assets to guarantee the bond.
On Monday, Fabie filed a motion to withdraw as the surety for the bond; two other bondsmen, Ed Saxe and Steven Schiding, were to take over the bond, Saxe confirmed.
However, the bond issue appears to be moot since Gregory Hess was denied bail when he was arraigned on the new charges on Wednesday.
Holt did not return calls seeking comment.
— Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.