Skip to main content

Feds Say Mississippi Woman Used WhatsApp and Paid Someone in Bitcoin in Murder-for-Hire Plot. The ‘Hitman’ Was Actually an Undercover FBI Agent.

Booking photo via Jessica Leeann Sledge

Jessica Leeann Sledge.

A Mississippi woman allegedly looked for an assassin to kill someone but only ended up finding an FBI agent. Jessica Leeann Sledge, 39, faces a count of use of interstate commerce facility in the commission of murder-for-hire, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi.

The DOJ identified Sledge as a resident of the city of Pelahatchie in Rankin County. Authorities did not identify the alleged target in their press release on Wednesday, but they did say the person was not harmed. They also said that the person Sledge allegedly thought was a “hitman” was actually an FBI Special Agent:

The complaint alleges that between September 2021, and November 1, 2021, Sledge used facilities of interstate commerce with the intent to hire an assassin to murder an individual in Mississippi. Unknown to Sledge, the “hitman” she hired via the internet to commit a murder was in fact an FBI Special Agent. The intended victim was unharmed.

The complaint itself, which hit the docket on Tuesday and was unsealed on Wednesday, said that Sledge used WhatsApp and paid the “hitman” in Bitcoin.

“SLEDGE made Bitcoin payments totaling approximately $10,000 for the murder of Victim 1 on October 4, October 9, October 10, 2021, via internet transactions,” documents say. “Using information obtained from the internet contact, on October 22, 2021, an undercover law enforcement agent (‘UC’) contacted SLEDGE on her cellular telephone while impersonating a hitman SLEDGE thought she had contracted with via the internet.”

“Sledge had extensive conversations with the UC from October 22-26, 2021. During these conversations, SLEDGE provided specific information concerning Victim 1 to the UC. These conversations were conducted via interstate commerce facilities, including cellular telephones and an internet communication application, Whatsapp,” documents continue. “During a series of recorded conversations, SLEDGE confirmed that she was paying for the murder of Victim 1.”

From here, Sledge allegedly told the FBI Special Agent about the kind of car the victim was driving and where the victim was headed.

“On October 26, 2021, physical surveillance was conducted in Pelahatchie, Mississippi. At approximately 8:20 a.m., SLEDGE contacted the UC via WhatsApp and described the vehicle that Victim 1 was driving to the store to the Marathon gas station to get breakfast,” documents add. Physical surveillance confirmed that Victim 1 arrived at the gas station in the vehicle described by SLEDGE. A photograph was taken of Victim 1 at the gas station and forwarded to the UC. The UC sent the photograph to SLEDGE, who confirmed that the person in the photograph was the intended target.”

But wait — there’s more. Sledge allegedly agreed to meet up days later — in person — with the person she thought was a hired “hitman” and talked about the “murder of Victim 1.”

“On November 1, 2021, SLEDGE agreed to meet with the UC, who SLEDGE thought was the assassin that she had hired to murder Victim 1. SLEDGE and the UC met at a location in Rankin County, Mississippi. SLEDGE provided the UC with additional payment in cash and discussed the murder of Victim 1.”

Sledge made an initial appearance in Jackson at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Sledge remains at the Madison County Detention Center on a federal hold, online records show.

She faces up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted as charged, authorities said.

You can read the complaint and affidavit against Sledge below:

[Booking photo via Madison County Detention Center]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime: