Described previously in the media as a “real life Rambo” a former US soldier faces charges over an alleged murder-for-hire scheme involving kidnappings and murder, including the multiple shooting in the face of a woman in the Philippines.
The US Attorney from the Southern District of New York issued the following release –
Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Ray Donavan, Special Agent in Charge of the Special Operations Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), today announced that a grand jury had returned a Superseding Indictment, which charged JOSEPH MANUEL HUNTER, a U.S. citizen and former member of the U.S. Army, and two co-defendants with offenses relating to the February 2012 murder of a woman in the Philippines. HUNTER’s co-defendants, ADAM SAMIA and CARL DAVID STILLWELL, were previously arrested in North Carolina in July 2015 and are scheduled to start trial on the offenses charged in the Superseding Indictment on April 2, 2018. HUNTER is expected to arrive in the Southern District of New York on October 25, 2017. The case has been assigned to the Honorable Ronnie Abrams.
According to the allegations in the Superseding Indictment against HUNTER, SAMIA, and STILLWELL returned today:
HUNTER served from 1983 to 2004 in the United States Army, where he attained the rank of sergeant first class. While in the Army, HUNTER led air-assault and airborne infantry squads; served as a sniper instructor; and trained soldiers in marksmanship and tactics as a senior drill sergeant. Since leaving the Army in 2004, HUNTER has arranged for the murders of multiple people in exchange for money, among other completed acts of violence undertaken for pay.
SAMIA is a self-described “Personal Protection/Security Industry” professional. According to SAMIA’s résumé, he has worked as an “Independent Contractor” for clients in the Philippines, China, Papua New Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of the Congo; and has training in tactics and weapons, including handguns, shotguns, rifles, sniper rifles, and machineguns. According to STILLWELL’s résumé, he has training and experience in the field of information technology and has worked at a firm in North Carolina that provides firearms training.
In 2011 and 2012, HUNTER, SAMIA, and STILLWELL agreed to commit murders-for-hire in overseas locations in exchange for monthly salaries and bonus payments for each victim. In early 2012, SAMIA and STILLWELL traveled from North Carolina to the Philippines, where HUNTER provided them with, among other things, information about their intended victims and firearms to use to commit the murders.
In January and February 2012, SAMIA and STILLWELL surveilled their intended victims in the Philippines as they formulated their plans for the murders. On February 12, 2012, SAMIA and STILLWELL killed one of their intended victims – a Filipino woman – in the Philippines by shooting her multiple times in the face (“Victim-1”). After killing Victim-1, SAMIA and STILLWELL disposed of her body on a pile of garbage. HUNTER paid SAMIA and STILLWELL $35,000 each for completing the murder, and SAMIA and STILLWELL sent thousands of dollars from the payments they received to the United States using, among other methods, structured wire transfers in amounts under $10,000.
In late February and early March 2012, SAMIA and STILLWELL returned from the Philippines to North Carolina, where they continued to reside until their arrests.
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HUNTER, 52, of Owensboro, Kentucky, SAMIA, 43, of Roxboro, North Carolina, and STILLWELL, 49, of Roxboro, North Carolina, have each been charged with one count of conspiring to commit murder-for-hire and one count of committing murder-for-hire, each of which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison; one count of conspiring to murder and kidnap in a foreign country and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, each of which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. SAMIA and STILLWELL are also each charged with conspiring to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The charges against the defendants were the result of the close cooperative efforts of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York; DEA’s Special Operations Division, Bilateral Investigations Unit; DEA’s Atlanta Field Division, Raleigh Resident Office; the Durham Police Department; the Raleigh Police Department; the Harnett County Sherriff’s Office; the Wake County Sherriff’s Office; the Person County Sherriff’s Office; the Cary Police Department; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations; and the Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center. Mr. Kim also thanked the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina for its support and assistance.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Rebekah Donaleski, Patrick Egan, and Emil J. Bove III are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.