By Mike Linn: CNJ news editor
A former Bovina chiropractor has been arrested on charges she paid an undercover Clovis police detective to kill her ex-husband and his father.
Shannon Hollister, 34, of Mount Vernon, Wash., was arrested Saturday without incident in Mount Vernon north of Seattle after she wired $5,000 to the undercover detective to perform the killings in Washington, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Hollister was charged Monday in U.S. District Court with using telephone communications from Washington to New Mexico with the intent of having two people murdered for payment.
Hollister also asked the detective to blow up her ex-husband and his father’s chiropractic clinic in Washington, “making it look like a natural gas explosion,” the complaint shows.
During the search of her vehicle after arrest, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents found the receipt for the $5,000 wire transfer and her cell phone matched the number provided by the Clovis detective, the complaint shows.
Sgt. Roger Grah of the Clovis Police Department applauded the work of his undercover agent, who tape recorded four of five conversations with Hollister from Nov. 3-18 and notified FBI agents in Washington after the wire transfer was set up last week.
“It was a very good job by the detective there,” said FBI spokeswoman Robbie Burroughs. “There’s no telling what would have happened if she had gone to somebody else and we hadn’t been notified.”
The undercover detective’s name was released in the complaint, but Clovis police have asked the Clovis News Journal to withhold the detective’s name for his own safety.
Hollister’s court-appointed attorney, Paula Deutsch, said Hollister had been married to the man for about three years, but she had entered a program for victims of domestic violence to escape him.
Hollister was angry with her ex-husband because he had been harassing her for four years, and she told the detective she wanted to have him and his father killed because they mistreated her 6-year-old daughter, the complaint shows.
In a telephone interview Monday night with The Associated Press, the ex-husband, Nicholas Martin, said Hollister has accused him of a variety of things, mostly abuse, over the past several years, but that he always has been cleared. He noted he has custody of their daughter.
“I’m glad it ended being an undercover police officer she ended up talking to,” he said.
Hollister, who along with her ex-husband and his father worked at a chiropractic clinic in Bovina before moving to Washington last year, initially sought the name of a professional hit man from an acquaintance, who jokingly said she knew one. The acquaintance called Clovis police, who asked her to give Hollister the number of the undercover detective, Burroughs said.
Not long thereafter, Hollister moved to Washington, but she continued to keep in touch with the undercover detective in Clovis.
“Maybe she believed that there were just so few hit men in this country that she had to deal with somebody in New Mexico — and that was OK with her,” Burroughs said. “This type of thing doesn’t happen all the time … But I can think of a number of cases in the past, and not necessarily here in Seattle, where somebody wants to bump off their ex-husband or whatever and who tries to (find) a hit man (through someone else), who almost always calls the police or FBI.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.