MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — The Department of Justice says a West Monroe man was convicted on a murder-for-hire plot.  According to the DOJ, Steven Marcus Kelley, 48, of West Monroe, was sentenced to 120 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

Steven Kelley
Courtesy: Ouachita Correctional Center

According to court documents, Kelley with convicted by a federal jury in October of 2021, following a trial in the United States District Court.  Kelley was found guilty of the use of a facility of interstate commerce in the commission of murder-for-hire.  Investigators say the charge stems from a letter that Kelley wrote while incarcerated at Ouachita Correctional Center (OCC) and he is awaiting trial for charges of rape and molestation.  According to the courts, Kelley tried to hire someone to kill his ex-wife, who is the mother of the victims in the sex crimes case.

Court documents say the evidence presented at the federal trial revealed that Kelley got the address of an individual in Monroe from another inmate at OCC and mailed the letter to that individual.  Investigators say they believe Kelley was under the impression that the individual at the address would carry out the murder, and that’s why he offered this person “$10k for the job”.   According to the courts, Kelley asked this individual to put “2 in the chest, 2 in the head” and to “make sure it counts”.  In the letter sent by Kelley, there was a map in both blue and black ink of the area where his ex-wife worked.

Investigators for this crime say Kelley used another inmate’s name to keep the crime from being connected to him, and by sending the letter via the U.S. Postal Service, this sent the case to the federal courts.  The court documents say the letter was received on December 10, 2019, and the person living in the house read the letter that provided physical descriptions of the victim, the kind of vehicle she drove, where she worked, and her normal schedule detailing the time she arrives at work.  Investigators tell us the letter said it “HAS to look like a robbery”.  The recipient of the letter, according to investigators, realized the letter was soliciting someone to commit a murder; they took the letter to the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office the next day.

Officers say when they received the letter they checked the surveillance video from OCC and the video shows on December 5, 2019, Kelley was sitting on his bed writing a letter.  Investigators say Kelley can be seen in the video alternating between two different pens, which investigators say was consistent with the two ink colors used to draw the map.  Then, according to investigators, Kelley can be seen taking the letter to another inmate to get the address of the would-be hitman.

Investigators say on December 30, 2019, law enforcement officers obtained a search warrant for the Pods at the OCC where Kelley was housed at the time of the incident.  Deputies say while searching his bunk, they found a blue and black pen in his possession.  They also found in another inmate’s bunk the address of the individual to whom Kelley mailed the letter.  Law enforcement then passed the case on to the FBI, United States Postal Inspection Service, and Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office.