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Navy airman charged in murder-for-hire plot

Seaman Uriel Gerardo Olivas, who is being held in pre-trial confinement, gave a $500 down payment to an undercover officer pretending to be a hitman in order to have his wife murdered.

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By COURTNEY MAEBUS | The Virginian-Pilot | Published: August 22, 2018

NORFOLK, Va. (Tribune News Service) — A Navy airman charged with attempting to kill his wife in a murder-for-hire plot appeared Wednesday in the military’s equivalent of a preliminary hearing.

In addition to the attempted murder charge, Seaman Uriel Gerardo Olivas is accused of communicating a threat, solicitation, stealing his basic housing allowance and the use of marijuana. He is also charged with aggravated assault with a loaded firearm in a May 2 incident in which he is accused of pointing a loaded weapon at his neighbor “at or near” his Hampton home, according to a charge sheet. Olivas is assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush, where he works as a fuel handler.

Wednesday’s hearing will help determine whether there is probable cause to take the case to court martial.

Details were scant and no witnesses testified during the hearing, which lasted about a half hour. Olivas, who is being held in pre-trial confinement, was brought into a Naval Station Norfolk courtroom wearing shackles, which were removed for the hearing.

According to a heavily redacted, or blacked out, charge sheet and Navy prosecutor Lt. Jennifer Schwartau, Olivas paid a $500 down payment to an undercover officer in the attempted murder case on July 6. Schwartau said Olivas intended to pay off the remainder of the $10,000 scheme using his wife’s life insurance.

It was not clear Wednesday how the plan was intended to be carried out. Defense attorney Lt. Nicholas Inns said the couple dated 10 months and married before Olivas deployed. The Bush returned from a seven-month deployment in August 2017.

The charges of communicating a threat and solicitation stem from February. According to charge sheets, Olivas threatened to murder another sailor and solicited a sailor to kidnap another. It was not clear if the charges were related.

Olivas declined to make a statement during the hearing.

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