New York fans of Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” may be following the sordid allegations against a former manager of a New Jersey diner featured on the Food Network show. The 45-year-old man, who may be mounting his criminal defense under home confinement, was accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill his uncle, a co-owner of the iconic Tick Tock Diner. The supposed hit man that he spoke to, however, was an undercover state cop. The man was taken into custody on an attempted murder charge before being released on $600,000 bail.
According to prosecutors, the former manager asked the trooper posing as a hit man not only to kill his uncle, but also to dispose of the body. He reportedly believed his uncle was receiving an unfairly large share of the diner’s profits and was hoarding that money in a safe, the prosecutors said.
NBC reported that the nephew sat down with someone who turned out to be an informant and discussed his purported plan. That conversation was recorded and brought to police, who then provided the state trooper who posed as a hit man at two further meetings with the man. At the final meeting, the news report stated, the supposed hit man was provided with two photographs of the uncle and a down payment.
It wasn’t revealed what defense the former diner manager would put forth if the case went to trial, but since it seems that he was approached by the undercover cop posing as a hit man, the possibility of entrapment may be worth investigating. It may be possible that the defendant may have been subtly encouraged to follow through with his plan and may not have otherwise acted in such a way. In an interview with the media, the man’s attorney argued that he had not actually wished to kill his uncle but may have been speaking out of frustration.
Source: The New York Times, “A Diner, a Family and a Murder Plot,” Kate Zernike, May 2, 2013
Source: NBC New York, “Diner Manager in Alleged New Jersey Murder-for-Hire Plot Can Remain Out on Bail: Judge”, November 18, 2013