The trial began Tuesday for a York County man accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill his wife’s boyfriend last April.
Gregory Hess is facing charges including criminal solicitation to commit murder. In the opening statements, the prosecution says Hess wanted to murder Chris Ward. But Hess’ attorneys say he wanted to beat Ward and not kill him.
Prosecutor David Sunday tells the jury Greg Hess wanted to “remove Ward from Earth.” Ward is the boyfriend of Hess’s wife.
He says during the trial, jurors will hear three phone conversations between Hess and his would-be hit man, Calvin Jones. Sunday says Hess offered Jones money to kill Ward. Instead, Jones, who has a criminal background, went to police as an informant.
Ward was informed and they staged his murder. Then, police arrested Hess when he and Jones met at a diner to exchange money. Defense attorney Farley Holt, told a different story.
He encouraged the jury to “listen to the evidence” and to “use common sense.” Holt says his client did not want Ward to die and the whole ordeal was blown out of proportion. He did make a contract with Jones, but to beat Ward up and not to kill him. Hess has been free since March on $2 bail because he wasn’t tried within 180 days.
Ward and Jones also took the stand Tuesday. Ward admitted to knowing Hess’s wife after high school and also said he had a relationship with her since last year. He also said he helped authorities “play dead” as a way to bust Hess.
Next on the witness stand, Calvin Jones said Hess hired him to murder someone and asked, “How much it would cost to bang someone?”
Next the prosecutors played police-recorded cell phone conversations between Jones and Hess which confirms the so-called “roof job.” Jones says “roof job” is the slang he used with Hess.
In cross examination, the attorney for Hess questioned Jones’s cooperation with police as a way to lessen his criminal background.
The trial resumes Wednesday morning at 9:30 at the York County Courthouse.