Police Foil Plot To Kill Justin Bieber

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 13 2012 11:26 AM

The Very Real Plot To Castrate and Kill Justin Bieber

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Justin Bieber performs onstage during Power 96.1's Jingle Ball 2012 at the Philips Arena on December 12, 2012 in Atlanta

Photo by Chris McKay/Getty Images for Jingle Ball 2012.

Here's a completely normal, ho-hum news story from last night that you may have missed (via ABC News):

Justin Bieber was the target of a grisly murder plot hatched by a convicted killer imprisoned in New Mexico, police told ABC News [Wednesday]. Dana Martin, 45, an inmate at the Southern New Mexico Corrections Facility, is accused of masterminding the plan, which called for castrating Bieber and his bodyguard in New York, and two unnamed victims in Vermont, before strangling them, according to a New Mexico State Police affidavit.
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Yep, Justin Bieber, as in the global pop star and leader of legions of teenage fans known as Beliebers.

The skin-crawling details of the bizarre plot certainly live up to its grisly billing. For one, Martin allegedly wanted his co-conspirators to attack the teenage heartthrob and the other victims with a pair of gardening clippers (a Fiskars Durasharp set, to be exact), and was offering a bounty of $2,500 for each testicle that he got. He also was allegedly very specific about how he wanted Bieber and co. strangled, requesting that the men use a paisley necktie for the job, as Martin had apparently used himself in the 2000 rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl. In case all that wasn't enough to earn this story a place among the year's craziest and most disturbing, there was also the small detail that Martin is said to have a tattoo of Bieber's likeness on his leg.

As improbable and unlikely as the castration-murder plot sounds, it's worth noting that it was more than just a prison-cell fantasy. According to police, the two men Martin enlisted for the job—former inmate Mark Staake and his nephew, Tanner Ruane—had picked a time and place to commit the crimes. The men set off for Vermont on Nov. 14 to execute the first pair of murders and had intended to carry on to New York City to kill Bieber between his Nov. 28 and 29 concerts in Madison Square Garden, according to reports.

The plots fortunately were foiled, however, when the pair missed a highway exit in Vermont and ended up accidentally crossing into Canada, where they were stopped by a border patrol agent. Staake was then arrested in Vermont on outstanding warrants. Ruane was released but later arrested by New York state police after officials listened in on a call between him and Martin during which they talked about the murder plots. The suspects now face two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, and two counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated battery.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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