A Tacoma man pleaded not guilty Friday in Pierce County Superior Court in connection with an alleged plot to kill his estranged wife and her boyfriend.
Mario D. Sandoval, 42, was arraigned on one count of first-degree criminal solicitation for murder. He was released on condition he post a $100,000 bond and stay away from the victims. A trial was tentatively set for March 1.
Lakewood police arrested Sandoval this week after being contacted Dec. 27 by a bail bondsman who said Sandoval had paid him $1,000 as a down payment to “eliminate” the boyfriend, according to court documents.
Prosecutors gave this account:
The bondsman said he was introduced to Sandoval as someone who knew a man the bondsman was seeking named Diablo. Sandoval, who speaks little if any English, said he knew where Diablo was and that the man had ruined Sandoval’s life by taking his wife from him.
Sandoval offered the bondsman $1,000 to “eliminate” Diablo, which the bondsman told police he took to mean apprehend.
Sandoval drove the bondsman to a Lakewood barbershop where the man worked, but the bondsman discovered the man wasn’t Diablo.
Nevertheless, Sandoval asked the bondsman to “eliminate” the man and Sandoval’s wife, who also worked at the barbershop, for an additional $5,000. Sandoval said he wanted them shot in the shop, according to court papers.
The bondsman later told police he didn’t intend to kill anyone but agreed to and took the $1,000 to keep Sandoval from hiring someone else to do the killings.
The bondsman went to the police, who wired him with a transmitter and recorder and had him meet with Sandoval again, Lake-wood police spokesman Lt. Chris Lawler said.
At that meeting, Sandoval allegedly told the bondsman to kill only the boyfriend for $2,500 because he wasn’t sure he wanted his wife killed, according to court documents.
Sandoval allegedly also told the bondsman he wanted him to kill a former wife for an additional $5,000, court documents said.
Police arrested Sandoval on Wednesday.