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Man Who Attempted To Hire Hitman To Kill Pastor Eligible for Parole Immediately Following Conviction

pierre assaad
Pictured: Building of Supreme Court of Victoria, where Pierre Assaad's trial took place. Alpha from Melbourne, Australia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

An Australian man will be eligible for parole almost immediately following his conviction for attempting to hire a hitman to kill a church pastor who had counseled his wife through the couple’s marriage separation. 

Pierre Assaad was arrested in June 2020 after he agreed to pay an undercover operative $40,000 to kill Silas Issa, a pastor whom Assaad believed was to blame for the breakdown of his marriage. Assaad pleaded guilty earlier this month. 

According to the Australian Associated Press, the judge sentenced Assaad to a five-year prison term, with a no-parole restriction for the first two-and-a-half years. As Assaad had remained in custody throughout the duration of the pretrial period, he will be eligible for parole almost immediately. 

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The judge noted that Assaad’s time in custody had been difficult because of COVID-19 restrictions on visitors and prisoner programs. 

The plan to kill Issa was formed after Assaad met with a member of a crime syndicate responsible for illicit tobacco trade and spoke about how distraught he was about his son’s marriage, which was also in a period of separation. 

Assaad apparently knew the criminal figure from his time as owner of a tobacco shop. 

The Age reported that Assaad told the criminal figure that he felt his daughter-in-law was  “ripping off” his son, John Assaad. After setting up a meeting with a man who has now been revealed to be an undercover operative working to investigate organized crime, the plan evolved to target Issa in retaliation for Issa having counseled Assaad’s wife during Assaad’s own marital separation. 

“I’ve had it in for him for six years,” Assaad reportedly said of Issa, whom he referred to as a “bastard” and “big con man.”

The “hitman” agreed to carry out the killing and provide proof of completion by sending Assaad a picture of the body alongside Issa’s driver’s license. Assaad produced a $5,000 deposit along with a dossier profiling Issa’s personal information and patterns of movement, after which he was arrested and charged. 

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While Assaad’s defense team argued that the undercover operative entrapped Assaad by being the first one to bring up the idea of murder after Assaad first suggested that they find a way to get his daughter-in-law deported, Assaad was nevertheless found culpable.