Two plead guilty in murder-for-hire case

Posted: Friday, June 07, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Two Anchorage residents pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that they plotted to kill federal officials and a witness scheduled to testify against them.

Arnold Wesley Flowers, 27, and Sompong Khamsomphou, defendants in a pending trial on charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to two counts of conspiracy to murder a federal witness and conspiracy to murder federal employees or officials.

As part of the plea agreement, the defendants also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Prosecutors said Flowers and Khamsomphou will be sentenced in early September.

Flowers and Khamsomphou in February were indicted on federal fraud charges of cashing more than $40,000 in counterfeit checks.

A superseding indictment in March charged them with conspiring to kill 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 was handled by Department of Justice attorneys from Washington, D.C.

Flowers has been in custody since he was arrested Jan. 22 in connection with the bank fraud case. Khamsomphou also was taken into custody in January but was released Jan. 24 on a $5,000 unsecured bond. She was re-arrested Feb. 28.

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, prosecutors said.

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 superseding 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, prosecutors said.

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 contracts cost a combined $5,000. Two were paid in full -- including one for Chanthaseng -- but neither targeted person was killed.



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