Princeton man charged with hiring hit man to kill ex-wife - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Princeton man charged with hiring hit man to kill ex-wife

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Jason Gardner. Source: Indiana State Police Jason Gardner. Source: Indiana State Police
Pamela Gardner. Source: Indiana State Police Pamela Gardner. Source: Indiana State Police

Sunday night, Indiana State Police arrested Jason Ray Gardner, 31, and his current wife, Pamela Gardner, 42, of Princeton, after they allegedly conspired to have his ex-wife killed. Police say this isn't the first time they've tried to hire a hit man.

Police say Jason Gardner was attempting to hire a hit-man to kill his ex-wife, Teresa Gardner, 39, of Princeton.  Further investigation revealed Gardner is involved in an on-going custody battle with his ex-wife over their two children.  

"Jason gave a description of his ex-wife, told the agent where she lived, where she worked, and he made it very clear he wanted her killed," said Indiana State Police Sergeant Todd Ringle.

On April 14th, Gardner met with an undercover ATF agent posing as a hit-man on the east side of Evansville to discuss details concerning his ex-wife.  During the meeting, Gardner allegedly gave the hit-man a description of his ex-wife and information regarding her address and the description of her vehicle. Gardner allegedly agreed to pay $1,000 as a down payment and another $1,000 when his ex-wife is killed.  The investigation also determined Gardner and his current wife had allegedly attempted to hire two different individuals over the last several years to kill his ex-wife.

Around 8pm, Sunday night, Gardner met with the undercover ATF agent posing as the hit-man in the Walmart parking lot in Princeton.  Gardner paid the undercover officer $900 and allegedly agreed to pay an additional $1,100 after his ex-wife is killed. 

After the money was exchanged, police moved in and arrested Gardner. Later Sunday evening, they also arrested Jason's current wife Pamela Gardner. Sergeant Ringle says through the investigation, they had discovered that the couple had allegedly tried to hire hit men to kill Teresa two other separate times.

"I was just in shock. I couldn't believe it," said Candi Gardner-Brown, who was married to Jason over 10 years ago.

She says she received a phone call late Sunday night telling her what happened, and she says as the day went on, she got several phone calls from people concerned about her safety.

"Most of it was thinking it was towards me," said Brown.

She says this incident does not sound like the Jason Gardner she knew.

"I would never imagine anything like this from him. I 've known him for 12, 13 years and I've never seen this side of him," said Brown.

Both Jason and Pamela were in court Monday where they were charged each with conspiracy to commit murder, a Class A felony.

They will be back in court on May 7th.

Investigating Agencies: Indiana State Police, FBI, ATF and Princeton Police

14 News will keep you updated.

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