The person Slater was trying to hire, though, turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.
Now Slater, who was indicted in June 2020 within days of trying to launch the plot, could serve up to 10 years in prison. He pleaded guilty last week to murder-for-hire in a deal in which federal prosecutors dropped several other charges against him.
Both sides agreed he should serve the maximum 10 years, although a judge will formally sentence him at a future hearing. His attorney declined to comment on the case.
Law enforcement officials began investigating Slater after a woman was found dead in Everglades National Park in February 2020, court documents state. The woman was identified as Brianne Slabaugh, a 26-year-old whom Slater had recruited to spy on his ex-girlfriend and kidnap and kill “multiple individuals associated with” her, a prosecutor said during a November 2020 federal detention hearing.
Slabaugh was ultimately “unable to go through with the murder,” the prosecutor said. Her body was later found in the Everglades, according to the Sun-Sentinel. The Miami-Dade County medical examiner ruled her death an accidental drug overdose.
The investigation into Slabaugh’s death led law enforcement to one of Slater’s associates, who later began cooperating with the FBI.
In May 2020, prosecutors said, Slater connected with an associate who owed him a drug debt. He offered to wipe the associate’s slate clean while sweetening the pot with cocaine and cash, if the person arranged to have his ex and two of her relatives killed, court documents state.
The associate promised to connect Slater with a hit man.
Slater was explicit in his instructions regarding his ex, prosecutors wrote in court documents: He wanted her teeth knocked out, nose broken and acid thrown in her face.
He even helped the associate scout the sister’s place. On June 8, the two drove there together. While camped outside, Slater pointed to a window, explaining how the sister and her husband sat in the living room at specific times — information he told the informant to use to shoot the two, according to court documents.
Slater told the associate to spray paint the house with the words “Black Lives Matter” so members of the social movement would be blamed.
Slater’s associate, then working as an FBI informant, was wearing a wire the whole time. The “hit man” the associate had Slater meet was an undercover agent.
On June 12, the associate told Slater the hit man had killed both the sister and her husband. The two met later that night. The associate gave Slater pictures that had been doctored to show what appeared to be the bodies.
Slater paid the associate $400 and promised more when banks reopened. The indictments came three days later.