Couple Accused of Trying to Hire Hitman to Kill Judge, 3 Others

Samuel Chadwick

A Cherokee County couple is accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill a district judge and three other people involved in a custody dispute.

Samuel Chadwick and Martina Cheyenne Williams were arrested after an undercover officer went to Chadwick's house and posed as a hitman, authorities said.

Chadwick paid the officer $18 and gave him a knife collection and promised him $100 more whenever he got paid.

The list of people included a district judge, Williams' estranged boyfriend and two other people involved in a custody case.

"This case started as a routine search warrant," said Mike Moore, Director of the Drug Task Force for District 27.

A warrant to bust Raymond Gist for allegedly selling pot out of his apartment, but it was something else they found that really set off alarms.

"We locate a piece of paper that I'm calling a hit list," he said.

Four names on a list that police say Raymond says he got from a guy named Samuel, who were supposedly enemies of his girlfriend Martina, who was in a bitter custody battle. So on the list

"It was her estranged boyfriend, his mom, and the judge, all involved in the custody battle that they wanted killed," said Moore.

The fourth person on the list was Martina's father's ex-girlfriend. And next to those names were descriptions on how they should die.

"It had the first name and then it said horrible, painful, quick death, and then it said two weeks later, then it had the second name and it said sell him some bad crack," said Moore.

Cops set up a sting where money was exchanged to have the dirty deeds done after which everyone was arrested. Including Joanna Ashcroft who cops say actually wrote the note.

Four people arrested, four people saved, with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit murder.

"This is the kind of a case investigators dream of, you find the note then everything falls into place," he said.