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Airman pleads guilty in Oklahoma murder-for-hire plot

By Silas Allen | The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City (Tribune News Service) | Published: January 8, 2016

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE (Tribune News Service) — An airman accused of conspiring to kill his ex-fiancee pleaded guilty Friday to one count of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and one count of attempted premeditated murder.

Under a pretrial agreement, Staff Sgt. Steven Bailey will serve 30 years in prison. Bailey was also reduced in rank to airman basic and dishonorably discharged.

In November, Bailey testified that he promised to pay $20,000 to another airman, Staff Sgt. Elijah Langhorne, for killing Bailey's ex-fiancee, Megan Conrad, of Jones. Bailey testified he wanted Conrad dead because he wanted custody of the former couple's daughter, Sawyer Bailey, whom Bailey said Conrad was abusing.

During Langhorne's trial, Bailey testified Langhorne tried several times to kill Megan Conrad between late 2013 and March 2015, including one incident where Langhorne attempted to burn Conrad's house down using an acetylene torch.

On several occasions, Langhorne followed Conrad to her home or to other locations in Jones and elsewhere in the Oklahoma City metro area.

Bailey testified he and Langhorne planned to kill Conrad on April 8, 2015, as she entered the Oklahoma County Courthouse for a custody hearing. Langhorne planned to shoot Conrad with a rifle from a parking garage near the courthouse.

But Langhorne was scheduled to deploy overseas on April 10, and Bailey worried that Langhorne wouldn't have enough time to kill Conrad if the custody hearing was rescheduled or the plan fell through for other reasons. So he asked another airman, Staff Sgt. Elliot Mitchell, if he knew of a hit man who would be willing to kill Conrad.

On about March 15, 2015, Mitchell reported Bailey's plan to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations' Tinker detachment. Investigators there asked him to act as an informant and wear a wire during several conversations with Bailey.

During Langhorne's trial, Special Agent Michael Maziarz, commander and special agent in charge of the detachment, testified investigators sent an undercover agent to pose as a hit man Mitchell had contacted on Bailey's behalf.

Bailey agreed to hire the man he thought was a hit man, and told him he would leave a bag at a Midwest City business for the agent on March 29, Maziarz said. The bag contained photos of Conrad, her home and her vehicle information.

The bag also contained a .22-caliber Sig Sauer Mosquito pistol, a box of .22-caliber bullets and an improvised suppressor made from an oil can — all belonging to Langhorne, Maziarz said.

Investigators retrieved the bag and Bailey was arrested the same night at the the Tinker gates, a week before the planned courthouse shooting.

Langhorne was convicted in November of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and aggravated arson. He also pleaded guilty to a single count of wrongful use and distribution of anabolic steroids. Langhorne was sentenced to 12 years in prison, reduced in rank to airman basic and dishonorably discharged.

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©2016 The Oklahoman

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