Prosecutors: Jail guard tried to hire hit man

April 2, 2010 6:10:57 PM PDT
A Will County corrections officer is charged in a murder-for-hire plot. The guard is accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend.

Prosecutors say Keith Smith sought the help of a jail inmate to execute his plot.

The Will County state's attorney and sheriff announced Thursday that 29-year-old Keith Smith, a correctional officer at the Will County Adult Detention Facility was arrested a and charged for solicitation of murder-for-hire. His bond was set at $2 million.

"This case originated with information that came to my office last Wednesday from an inmate in the jail. This is a case that obviously strikes at the very heart of our criminal justice system. The public has to trust law enforcement personnel. The moment we can't do that, then the rule of law has no meaning," said James Glasgow, Will County state's attorney.

"It is disappointing to myself and members of the sheriff's department that a fellow employee would cross the line, and again, what was stated earlier, my only satisfaction is that the case was able to come to a successful conclusion without anyone being harmed," said Paul Kaupas, Will County Sheriff.

Smith was arrested on Wednesday after traveling to Hammond to meet with an undercover FBI agent who was posing as a prospective hit man.

Smith is alleged to have enlisted the help of a Will County detainee to hire the hit man. The intended victim was the boyfriend of Smith's ex-girlfriend. He allegedly was going to pay $1,800 for the killing.

"There were funds deposits in accounts for the hit, and money exchanged hands with the agent," said Glasgow.

Smith was suspended from his duties without pay.

The jail detainee that was helping the police was put into protective custody.