A 37-year-old Basehor man who has Douglas County ties is in federal custody, accused of hiring a man to kill his wife.
According to an affidavit filed in federal court in Missouri, investigators accuse Lee D. Smith of agreeing to pay a man $1,800 to murder Smith’s wife. The man who Smith asked to commit the murder was a confidential informant to law enforcement, the affidavit said.
Federal prosecutors in Missouri filed a complaint Friday alleging that Smith met the informant in Kansas City, Mo., on May 9 and drove the man to the parking lot outside his wife’s job at 7400 College Blvd. in Overland Park to show him where he could kidnap her. According to the affidavit, a federal task force officer with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives alleges that on May 11 the informant placed a recorded call to Smith telling him he had his wife and Smith’s daughter in his custody.
“Smith requested that he let his daughter go and to continue as planned with killing his wife,” according to the affidavit.
In a second call the informant told Smith his daughter had been released and that Smith’s wife was dead, and Smith agreed to meet the informant at a grocery store later in the afternoon to pay him.
In the meantime, law officers told Smith they found his daughter and asked him to go to police headquarters. There, officers questioned Smith about the alleged arrangement to have his wife murdered, according to acting U.S. Attorney David Ketchmark’s office.
Federal prosecutors said Smith’s wife was never in danger because the informant was working with law enforcement throughout.
According to federal and Douglas County court records, the couple filed for bankruptcy in 2003, and a bank in 2011 initiated a foreclosure action on property in Eudora that the couple owned.
Smith remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing.