Tennessee woman target of dark web, murder-for-hire plot
Over a six-month investigation, "48 Hours" investigated murder-for-hire on the dark web and exposed an international criminal organization in a hunt for a self-described murder mastermind who uses the name Yura.
According to CBS, Yura is a man who claims to be behind an international murder empire named Besa Mafia.
In his video diary obtained by CBS, he says, "A hit man marketplace is like any other auction site. It brings customers and vendors together."
"48 Hours" discovered Yura while investigating the murder of Amy Allwine, a middle-aged woman from Minnesota.
According to CBS, Amy Allwine and her husband, Stephen, lived a happy life with their adopted son, Jacob; however, in the spring of 2016, the FBI learned about a murder-for-hire site, Besa Mafia, where people paid for other people to be killed. A person using the screen name Dogdaygod had ordered the assassination of a woman from Minnesota; it was Amy.
Dogdaygod had said, "Amy has ruined my life...and stolen my business." The person behind the screen name paid Besa Mafia $12,000 in bitcoin for the hit.
At the end of May, the FBI decided to tell the Allwines about the hit put on Amy.
The Minnesota woman was completely shocked, according to "48 Hours" and had no clue who could be behind it. In July, she received a direct threat saying, "Amy, I still blame you for my life falling apart...Here is how you can save your family. Commit suicide."
Though investigators continued to look into the threats, by the end of the year, Amy Allwine was dead.
On November 13, Stephen Allwine called 911, "I think my wife shot herself. There is blood all over."
Investigators and emergency services rushed to the scene, but Amy was dead.
At first glance, it appeared that it could be a suicide. However, investigators quickly noticed some oddities. "Amy's gunshot wound was easy to miss at first: a single bullet hole inside her right ear. The Allwine's pistol was lying in the crook of her left arm, which was perplexing because Amy was right handed," said one investigator.
For another thing, the scene indicated the body had been possibly moved. When the crime scene team inspected the area, looking for invisible blood stains, bloody footprints appeared everywhere.
Investigators suspected the scene was not one of suicide, but of murder.
As police continued to look into what happened to Amy, suspicions grew about her husband, Stephen.
According to "48 Hours," police began to be suspicious of him after they discovered his office, which had "as many as 66 electronic devices," which was a lot "even for an IT professional," said one investigator.
Investigators soon discovered some startling information in his email; Stephen Allwine had been a client of Ashley Madison, a website for married people seeking extramarital affairs.
"[Amy] would've been crushed," at learning that, said one of Amy's friends, Jane Sharpe.
Police found that Stephen had dated at least three women through the website.
However, it wasn't until December that investigators had any concrete evidence against Stephen. On December 12, investigators found a 34-character code in a message from Dogdaygod, paying for Amy's murder in bitcoin. That same code was found on Stephen's computer.
"Prosecutors say after waiting for nine months, Stephen Allwine was so frustrated that the hit hadn't happened, that he shot his wife to death himself," "48 Hours" said.
As prosecutors prepared their case against Stephen Allwine, "48 Hours" continued to investigate Yura, and the murder-for-hire site he claimed to host.
While they were investigating, Yura began sending "48 Hours" names of targets. One of them was Sydney Minor, a 22-year-old woman living in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Clarksville police called Minor to the station in April 2017 after "48 Hours" reached out to them about the hit.
Someone using the alias "Blackjack85" had messaged Yura's site in February and had given Sydney's name, address and other details.
When asked who she thought would want to kill her, Sydney gave the police four names: her ex-husband, her mother's ex-fiance, a man she had been formerly romantic with named Brandon States and States' wife Alexis.
Minor's ex-husband and her mother's ex-fiance were cleared right away, "48 Hours" reported.
That left Brandon States and Alexis, both of whom had gone to high school with Minor.
She had lost touch of both with them after graduation, and she had gotten married, had a son and divorced. In 2017, Minor said she started dating again.
"I was actually on a dating site and he popped up...he ended up messaging me," Sydney said. The two began talking and eventually dated.
States was an Army Specialist, stationed at Ft. Stewart, Georgia. On some weekends, he traveled eight hours back and forth to see Sydney in Clarksville.
She told "48 Hours" she was starting to see a future with him.
In January 2018, the relationship broke apart when she told Brandon she was pregnant.
"He was not happy. He wanted me to get an abortion...He gave me $400," she said.
He also told her, for the first time, that he was still married to Alexis.
"He's married. And he wants to get back with his wife. I was heartbroken," Sydney said.
Despite being heartbroken, Sydney decided against the abortion and demanded Brandon tell Alexis before he was deployed to Korea.
"I kept asking him, 'Have you told Alexis yet?' and he said, 'No, I need more time.' I was like, 'OK. So here's the ultimatum, either you tell her or I'm going to tell her."
She waited a few weeks, then sent Alexis a message on Facebook.
According to Sydney, Alexis hinted that this wasn't her husband's first time cheating. "She's like, 'Good luck in the future. If the kid is anything like the dad, you'll have your hands full'," Sydney said of Alexis.
Sydney then told Brandon she'd go to military court if he refused to pay child support.
The messages he sent to her were disturbing.
"He was like...'You're making the wrong choice here. So much for not fighting'. I said, 'Oh, well, I think I'm making the best choice here'.
He said, 'You'll see'." She told "48 Hours."
Sydney had no idea that Brandon had already contacted Yura, wanting to put a hit on her.
However, while Yura had agreed to the hit, Yura had also alerted "48 Hours," who in turn notified Clarksville police.
The police told the Army. Brandon, who was already in Korea, was charged with several military violations, including an attempt of premeditated murder.
Investigators say Brandon quickly confessed and was taken into custody.
The Clarksville mother wasn't the only target, however, and "48 Hours" investigated two others, which you can read about
As for Yura, and the murder-for-hire, site, investigators are beginning to think that it could be a massive scam.
"There's a pattern...Yura can't seem to get the job done...Yura is always asking for money," one investigator said.
"According to our investigation, [Yura] never arranged for a single actual hit."
However, what may be most disturbing isn't Yura, but the people who pay him.