Two indicted on murder-for-hire charge

Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Two Anchorage residents already facing fraud charges were indicted Friday in a murder-for-hire plot, charged with conspiring to kill a federal prosecutor, a federal judge and a witness.

Arnold Wesley Flowers, who turns 27 on Sunday, and Sompong Khamsomphou, whose age was unavailable, were each indicted on counts of conspiracy to kill an officer of the federal government, conspiracy to kill a witness to prevent testimony, and use of a facility in interstate commerce -- a telephone -- to commit murder for hire.

According to the indictments, the targets were assistant U.S. attorney Crandon Randell, federal court Judge H. Russel Holland, witness Lisa Chanthaseng, and Bounmy Chanthasen, whose connection was not indicated in the indictment.

The case is being handled by Department of Justice attorneys from Washington, D.C. Neither they nor attorneys in the Anchorage office would answer questions about the case.

The indictment Friday superseded an indictment handed down last month that said Flowers and Khamsomphou teamed up on a fraud scheme.

According to the February indictment, Khamsomphou, an employee of the Minnesota Branch of Wells Fargo Bank, obtained confidential information from two customer accounts and provided it to Flowers, who used computer software to print counterfeit bank checks.

Between Sept. 18 and Oct. 2, the pair benefitted from counterfeit checks totaling more than $40,000 that were cashed or converted into cashier's checks around Anchorage.

Randell was the prosecutor in the case, Holland was the presiding judge and Chanthaseng was a witness. Randell also prosecuted Flowers in a 1998 case in which he was convicted of forgery. Holland was the presiding judge.

According to the indictment, Flowers on Feb. 22 provided a handwritten note of four intended victims to an intermediary who was to make contact with a hit man. The intermediary and Khamsomphou then called a person they believed was a contract killer to arrange for the murders.

A day later, Khamsomphou drove to a hotel and met with the contract killer, discussed the killings and provided a down payment for the four murders.

On Feb. 24, Flowers, using an intermediary and assisted by Khamsomphou, called the contract killer. According to the indictment, the pair ''acknowledged the completion of the first two murder contracts and affirmed the pendancy of the other two.''

According to the indictment, the price tag for the four murders was $5,000.

If convicted, the defendants face maximum penalties of life in prison.

According to prosecutors, the Secret Service, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the United States Marshals Service participated in the investigation.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Alaska recused itself from the case because it involved one of its employees as a victim and a federal judge in the district.

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