Pelahatchie woman arrested after allegedly trying to hire an assassin over the internet
PELAHATCHIE, Miss. (WLBT) - A Pelahatchie woman will be behind bars at least until Monday after she was arrested for allegedly trying to hire a hitman to kill someone.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Wednesday, Jessica Leeann Sledge allegedly used the internet in an attempt to hire an assassin to murder someone in Mississippi.
Sledge, dressed in a dark orange jumpsuit, handcuffs and shackles, appeared before Federal Magistrate Keith Ball Wednesday, where the judge determined she should remain behind bars until her preliminary hearing.
Until then, she will remain at the Madison County Jail.
“Given the nature of the charge, this is not a charge I think it would be appropriate to let [the defendant] out until we have a detention hearing and a preliminary hearing,” he said.
Both hearings are slated for 2:30 p.m. Monday at U.S. District Court in downtown Jackson.
Attorney John Colette represents Sledge, and asked Ball if she could be released.
“The affidavit said they began investigating this in September,” he said. “They know she’s got no criminal history.”
Colette went on to point out conditions at the Madison County Jail, citing the condition of food and the lack of visitation.
Afterwards, Colette was seen speaking to his client prior to her being taken back into custody. He asked officers if Sledge would be able to speak to her mother, and was told no.
Sledge’s mother was sitting in an outside seat in the gallery. She declined to comment.
The 39-year-old is facing one felony count of the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.
If convicted, Sledge faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000, Ball said at Sledge’s initial appearance.
“We’re going to look into it and into the validity of the charges,” Colette said outside the courtroom.
According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the incident happened between September and November of 2021.
Unbeknownst to Sledge, the “hitman” she hired was an FBI Special Agent. The intended victim was unharmed.
The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Criminal Chief Dave Fulcher.
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