Man Accused of Hiring Someone for Murder

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A Salyersville man is facing charges over a murder-for-hire plot.

Federal authorities say 70-year-old Robert Barnett of Salyersville tried to hire an undercover ATF agent to murder someone.

In an affidavit, the undercover agent describes his encounter with Barnett. He says Robert Barnett called his undercover cell phone from a Las Vegas area code, admitting he was using a calling card.

It says he then asked that undercover agent to him him at the Marriott Fairfield Inn Hotel in Mt. Sterling. The special agent says during that meeting Barnett requested he murder an individual living in Huntington, West Virginia. He allegedly then gave the undercover agent $5,000 as a down-payment for the crime, with $4,000 more expected after the deed was complete.

The affidavit says Robert Barnett left the hotel and came back hours later with a machine gun equipped with a silencer, a pistol with a silencer, and several hundred rounds of ammunition. This was for the undercover agent to use for the murder plot.

The ATF agent says in the affidavit that none of the guns Robert Barnett brought back were registered with the ATF.

In a phone call to Barnett's home, his wife told 27 NEWSFIRST they were "both in the blind about his arrest ", and she "didn't understand why he was arrested". She tells us her husband does know a man in Huntington, West Virginia that she says he's loaned money to, but couldn't believe her husband would do something like this.

Barnett is charged with causing another to ravel in interstate commerce with intent that a murder be committed, and unlawfully possessing and transferring a machine gun for a crime of violence.

As for Barnett's guns, his wife tells us he only had a pistol that police took when he was arrested, and now that he's behind bars she's very worried about his health.

Robert Barnett will appear in federal court in Lexington on Thursday for a detention hearing. More details in this case are expected to be released at that time.

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