BARRY COUNTY, MI – A former teacher at Thornapple Kellogg Schools has agreed to plead guilty in a failed murder-for-hire plot against his wife, court records show.
Nelson Paul Replogle signed a plea agreement in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee that calls for a guilty plea to murder for hire, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
He agreed to plead guilty to felony information, rather than have the case go before a federal grand jury for indictment.
Replogle retired from Thornapple Kellogg in June 2018. He was an advisor for the 2018 Senior Class. He and his wife, Ann, left Michigan later that year.
They were living in Knox County, Tennessee, on April 15, 2021, when he arranged for his wife’s killing using the internet to “contact a dark web entity that purported to arrange murders in exchange for money,” the plea agreement said.
“The defendant used the Internet to provide the would-be killer with his wife’s name and address, a description of her vehicle, a specific date, time and place where she could be found and the murder effected, and his intention that the killing appear as ‘road rage or car jacking gone wrong,’” the plea agreement said.
It also said that he had transmitted a Bitcoin payment, worth $17,853.49 in U.S. currency.
Replogle signed the plea agreement.
The government said it would not oppose Replogle’s contention that he accepted responsibility for his crime, which the judge could consider at sentencing.
Replogle is scheduled for arraignment Oct. 25 followed by a plea hearing.
The British Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC, contacted the FBI on April 20 after receiving information that Ann Replogle was named as a murder-for-hire target, the FBI said in a criminal complaint.
The FBI in Knoxville contacted Knox County sheriff’s deputies to check the woman’s welfare. The FBI also responded.
During an interview, the couple said they did not know who would want to harm her, FBI special agent Clay Anderson wrote in court documents.
The FBI then contacted the BBC about its information.
The BBC said that an unnamed source provided information that a payment was made to an unknown person who would kill the woman when she took her pet to a veterinarian appointment.
The source provided detailed information about the wife, her vehicle and the time, date and place of her appointment, the FBI said.
The payment was made through Bitcoin, a virtual currency that circulates “via a decentralized peer-to-peer network,” the FBI agent said.
The FBI, citing an “exigent threat to life,” requested information from internet service providers.
A subpoena was issued to CoinBase, a trader in cryptocurrency, which provided information that “shows Replogle listed as the owner of the account and shows the transaction between Replogle and whomever is behind the murder for hire website,” the FBI agent wrote.
He said that the information included photo identification and photos of the defendant.
Replogle had no previous criminal record.
He has been held in jail since his April 21 arrest, records showed.