Sheriff: Man plots murder-for-hire to kill victim, witnesses while in jail

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 07, 2018

A Winter Haven man who is currently in the Polk County jail for lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 12-years-old has been charged for trying to hire someone to kill his victim and witnesses, according to officials. 

  • Man charged with murder-for-hire while in jail
  • Richard Palmer accused of trying to get victim, witnesses killed
  • Palmer in jail for lewd, lascivious acts on young child

According to the affidavit, Richard Palmer, 26, approached a cellmate, asking him if he knew anyone who would be willing to kill the young victim and witnesses in his case. 

The cellmate notified authorities about Palmer's offer--for $15,000 and a sports car--to murder the child and two adults, then burn their home down to destroy the evidence. 

Palmer told the cellmate that he didn't want his intended victims to come to court, and he didn't want to spend the rest of his life in prison, according to the affidavit. 

The cellmate turned over Palmer's hand-drawn map of the targeted residence, complete with landmarks, and interior layout, which was intended to help the hired-killer with the task.

An undercover detective contacted Palmer about the murders-for-hire and was provided directions, promised a motor vehicle as partial payment, as well as money in advance. 

Detectives also recorded a conversation between Palmer and his cellmate, where Palmer used the coded phrase, "Exterminate all Jews," referring to the victims in the neighborhood, the affidavit reported. He also admitted to drawing the map of the victim's residence. 

"Just when you think this man can't get any lower, after being arrested for doing horrible things to a child, now he's trying to hire someone to kill her and the witnesses. There's not one bit of remorse in this man for what he's done," said Sheriff Grady Judd.

Palmer was charged with two counts of solicitation to commit murder and one count of solicitation to commit arson. 

Richard Palmer's prior criminal history consists of four felony charges, three misdemeanor charges, and nine charges of unknown levels. In addition to the lewd and lascivious charge, his priors includes three battery on LEO charges, two charges of resisting arrest, domestic violence battery, driving while license suspended or revoked, and failure to appear.