Sgt. Jeremiah Russell Peikert, 30, was arrested and charged with conspiracy for helping his brother’s plan to hire someone to kill a woman, man and two children.

Sgt. Jeremiah Russell Peikert, 30, was arrested and charged with conspiracy for helping his brother’s plan to hire someone to kill a woman, man and two children. (Connecticut State Police)

AUSTIN, Texas — A soldier assigned to Fort Cavazos was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder for his role in helping his incarcerated brother plot to kill a woman, her two children and her boyfriend, according to Connecticut state police.

Sgt. Jeremiah Russell Peikert, 30, sent payments in July 2022 totaling $250 to his brother’s cellmate at a Montville prison in Connecticut as a finder’s fee to locate a hitman to kill the four people, according to police documents. The soldier told Connecticut state police that he knew his brother wanted to hurt the woman but did not know he wanted to kill her or anyone else.

The victims of the plot included a 29-year-old woman, a 10-year-old girl, a 1-year-old girl and a 23-year-old man, according to police documents.

“I initially did not want any involvement in this plan, and I reluctantly transferred the money. I eventually did because Josh and [the cellmate] kept pressuring me to send the money for ‘the job,’ ” Peikert wrote in a statement to police. “I had thoughts of notifying the police and/or [the woman], but I never did, but know I should have.”

Peikert is a network communication systems specialist with the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade who enlisted in 2012, according to Fort Cavazos, which is in Texas.

Connecticut state police on May 1 traveled to arrest Peikert in Fort Worth, Texas. He appeared two days later in court in Norwich, Conn., where bond was set at $500,000, according to police records.

He is also charged with conspiracy to commit risk of injury to minors.

His brother, 31-year-old Joshua Peikert, is incarcerated and faces the same charges.

Authorities first became aware of the situation October 2022, when the woman contacted the Groton Police Department after receiving a letter from the cellmate involved in the plot to alert her that she faced danger, according to police.

The case was given to state police who interviewed the cellmate, who is not named in police records. He told police that he advised Joshua Peikert that it would cost $10,000 per person. He said Peikert told him that was “doable” and said he would pay half up front and half afterward.

Joshua Peikert provided his cellmate the victims’ address, where they sleep and the location of a spare key in the outdoor electrical outlet to gain access to the home, according to police documents.

The cellmate said he never intended to hire a hitman or commit any violence, nor did he intend to contact anyone to do the job, but said he charged a $500 finder’s fee.

Soon after, the cellmate received $250 in his prison account from Jeremiah Peikert.

Joshua was released and reincarcerated and continued to ask his old cellmate about the hit. The cellmate told police that he “played dumb” and acted as if his brother had messed up the money transfer.

While in the prison’s medical facility, the cellmate said he wrote and sent the letter. He was later transferred to a different prison.

The cellmate also provided police with a handwritten letter from Joshua Peikert that detailed all the information about the woman’s home, which she later confirmed to police as accurate.

Police also confirmed Jeremiah Peikert did transfer $250 in two transactions into the cellmate’s prison financial account in July 2022. The cellmate called the soldier three times that month. During the call, the cellmate told Jeremiah that the individual hired for the job had gone to Florida, where he was arrested for fighting with a police officer and he doesn’t know when the man will return.

“The good news is that the job is going to get done because the payment, the agreement went through. The bad news is it may take a little while to happen, maybe two weeks,” the cellmate told him.

In December 2023, Connecticut state police interviewed Jeremiah Peikert at Fort Cavazos where he admitted to the transfers and that he knew his brother was trying to have the woman hurt.

“The U.S. Army and officials at Fort Cavazos are cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation,” said Lt. Col. Tania Donovan, spokeswoman for Fort Cavazos. “The Army takes allegations of criminal behavior by its members extremely seriously and will continue to work closely with law enforcement.”

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Rose L. Thayer is based in Austin, Texas, and she has been covering the western region of the continental U.S. for Stars and Stripes since 2018. Before that she was a reporter for Killeen Daily Herald and a freelance journalist for publications including The Alcalde, Texas Highways and the Austin American-Statesman. She is the spouse of an Army veteran and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. Her awards include a 2021 Society of Professional Journalists Washington Dateline Award and an Honorable Mention from the Military Reporters and Editors Association for her coverage of crime at Fort Hood.

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