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Inmate charged in murder-for-hire plot

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 11 2012 03:03:02 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 12 2012 12:56:09 PM CDT

Officials: Inmate ordered hit on victims, relatives

READING, Pa. -

Police are calling it a murder-for-hire plot that was caught just in the nick of time.

Christopher Yingling hired a hit man to carry out a series of murders, investigators said Monday.

But Yingling's murder plot backfired when his hit man turned to police, detectives said.

"The person who he reached out to to carry out his plan immediately contacted the Berks County District Attorney's office and the Berks County detective unit," said District Attorney John Adams.

Yingling, police said, was already in jail and facing attempted murder charges for allegedly shooting Glen Russell, who is a fire official with the Limerick Fire Department. Russell, police said, is the ex-husband of Yingling's girlfriend.

The shooting happened in the parking lot of an office complex in Spring Township in January, detectives said.

Yingling was not satisfied and asked another inmate to assist him in killing the victims of Yingling's previous crimes, police said.

"He also stated that if there were other people in the house, that those people should be shot and killed also," said Adams.

One of the people Yingling is accused of trying to have killed is a 14-year-old girl, who he is also accused of sexually abusing and trying to sell for sex, investigators said.

During the investigation, detectives intercepted phone conversations with Yingling. They were also able to intercept a hand-written note from Yingling, as well.

In the note, the "hit man" was instructed to meet Yingling's brother, detectives said. The note further instructed Yingling's brother to supply the hit man with a shotgun, specifically a 20-gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun, and a Chevrolet pickup truck to be utilized during the killings, investigators said.

"His own plan backfired," said Adams. "Desperate people do desperate things."

Based on the investigation, Christopher Yingling was charged Monday with criminal solicitation to commit first degree murder. His bail was set at $500,000.

Police said this case is still under investigation and have not ruled out more arrests.