Report: Murder-for-hire plot began in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, KY (WCSC/WAVE) - It all started when police suspected Aaron Wilkinson might be driving under the influence. He and his wife were arrested in South Carolina. That's where court records say Wilkinson got chatty and admitted the two were involved in a murder-for-hire plot.

The plan, records state, started in Louisville in late March, with Jefferson County resident Samuel Yenawine. Documents claim Yenawine recruited ex-cell mate Wilkinson to take a trip down to Nashville to get cocaine. Along the drive, Yenawine apparently told Wilkinson that Nashville was really Charleston and cocaine was actually murder.

The payoff was to be nearly $30,000 to kill a Charleston woman, documents state. The target for the murder was the estranged wife of a man who is said to be the lover of Wendy Moore, a woman who is said to be Yenawine's ex-wife. Moore is also facing charges in the murder-for-hire scheme.

An ATF agent said the murder was set to be carried out last Sunday, one day before the estranged couple was set to appear in family court for divorce proceedings.

While Yenawine came back to deposit part of the money in Kentucky, Wilkinson was pulled over, which opened the case.

Agents were able to convince Wilkinson to making a recorded phone call to Yenawine. Agents said during the conversation, Yenawine said, "I have no way to communicate [with Moore] because she ain't got no phone…I told her to get rid of that phone." He continued, "You going to make it work right?"

At that point, Wilkinson asked Yenawine if he could "pop" the woman when her children were with her in the car. "I don't give a (expletive)…it will look better," investigators said he answered.

After Wilkinson's confession, investigators caught up with Yenawine in Louisville. Thursday afternoon, only WAVE 3 was there as he appeared in Federal Court in downtown Louisville.

"He is charged with participating in a conspiracy to commit murder as well as aiding and abetting," said William Butler, Yenawine's attorney.

The court proceeding was continued until next week. After that, Yenawine will likely be moved.

"He will probably be transported to Oklahoma City and from there he will go to South Carolina where this crime is alleged to have taken place," Butler said. "Nothing is going to happen here in Kentucky. The trial will eventually be in Charleston, South Carolina."

Yenawine is no stranger to charges like these. More than a decade ago, he faced similar charges in relation to a deadly fire. WAVE 3 archives show that in January 2001, investigators found the body of Brian Tinnell, 28, in a burned Mellwood Avenue home. In the months that followed, Yenawine was charged with murder and arson in that case.

As for the latest charges, Yenawine sits behind bars as a federal prisoner in the Grayson County Detention Center until next week when he's back in court.

All three suspects have been charged with conspiracy to use, and use of interstate commerce facilities, in the commission of murder-for-hire and aiding and abetting. Wilkinson and Yenawine are also charged with felon in possession of a firearm.

During Thursday's hearing, the judge ruled there was probable cause for the case to go to trial. The judge also ordered Moore to remain behind bars, saying she was a flight risk.

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