NFM man gets 10 years in murder-for-hire plot
A local man accused of planning a murder-for-hire plot he hoped to sell to a former Cape Coral council member was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday.
Dustin Russell Lofty, 25, of 1895 N. Tamiami Trail, Apt. C44, North Fort Myers, pleaded no contest to 10 years during a court proceeding. Lofty had previously entered a plea of not guilty to two counts of criminal attempt to solicit conspire in a capital felony.
Samantha Syoen, spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office, reported that Lofty’s prison term will be followed by five years state probation.
Joseph Miskovich, of the Public Defender’s Office, represented Lofty.
He did not immediately return a message seeking comment Wednesday.
Lofty was accused of offering to “get rid of” witnesses in some upcoming cases against embattled Councilmember Eric Grill. The witnesses had alleged that Grill bilked them out of construction work worth thousands of dollars.
Each claimed that Grill took money for projects but never finished them.
Grill, who was suspended from office by the governor, eventually pleaded guilty to one count of making or furnishing a false statement on the allegations and was sentenced to five years probation. He was ordered to pay restitution and was required to resign from city council.
Prior to the conviction, Lofty reportedly contacted Grill by e-mail and told him that “he could help him with his problems.” Lofty’s proposition included at least “four zeroes” and he asked for $500 up front to get the “tools of the trade,” according to authorities.
During an investigation, Grill helped investigators by meeting with Lofty in person several times to discuss the terms of the proposal.
They were under surveillance by law enforcement at least once, officials reported. At the last meeting, Grill gave Lofty an envelope with $500, supplied by investigators.
Lofty accepted the money, then was taken into custody by deputies.
He had a trial scheduled for Aug. 1. Grill was reportedly supposed to testify.
Assistant State Attorney Carrie Pollock was assigned to the case.