Two men were taken into custody by the West Tennessee Drug Task Force for a murder-for-hire plot stretching from Humboldt to Murfreesboro.
The plan, which was foiled just three hours before the murder was to occur on Feb. 7, according to the press release, was organized by Stephen Taylor of Murfreesboro and Gregory Barnes of Humboldt, Tennessee.
A joint investigation between the WTDTF and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation began Feb. 6 when agents received a tip that Taylor had allegedly hired Barnes to kill a potential witness against Taylor in a Feb. 8 hearing in the Rutherford County Circuit Court.
Taylor, according to the press release, was facing burglury and aggravated assault charges in which a Murfreesboro man – the target of the hit – was the victim.
Agents found that the murder plot was planned in the Gibson County Jail, where Taylor and Barnes were serving weekend sentences for delivery of a cotrolled substance and misdemeanor of theft of property. The investigation showed that Taylor had given Barnes information on his victim, including an image of hm, his vehicle’s description, home address, place of employment and work hours.
On Feb. 7, WTDTF and TBI agents along with Murfreesboro investigators brought the intended victim into protective custody. With him safe, agents were able to conduct a sting that resulted in Barnes being arrested on Highway 45 on his way to Murfreesboro.
Agents then obtained an arrest warrant in Gibson County, according to the press release, and took Taylor into custody in Murfreesboro by TBI officials and Murfreesboro SWAT members.
“This intended murder was prevented by the coordinated efforts of law enforcement,” said Johnie Carter, the task force special agent in charge, according to the press release. “Agencies and officers from across the West and Middle Tennessee were able to foil this plot because of the resources and abilities that a Violent Crime and Drug Task Force bring to the table, especially for small communities like Humbolt where this plot was born.”
Taylor was moved to the Gibson County Jail, where he remains without bond awaiting arraignment. Barnes is being held on a $500,000 bond.
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