U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Middle District of Tennessee
110 9th Avenue South
Nashville, Tennessee 37203-3870
Fax (615) 736-5323
For Immediate Release
October 27, 2009
Edward M. Yarbrough, United States Attorney
Contacts: Blanche Cook, Assistant U.S. Attorney
Van Vincent, Assistant U.S. Attorney
Putnam County Resident Receives 325 Year Sentenced For Soliciting The Murder Of Law Enforcement Officers And Informant
Nashville, TN — July 14, 2009 — Edward M. Yarbrough, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, announced that William Vincent Dunn, 34, of Baxter, Tennessee, was sentenced today by United States District Chief Judge Todd Campbell to 325 years in prison for soliciting the murders of a Putnam County Sheriff’s Deputy, a Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and an informant. In announcing the sentence, Judge Campbell stated, “This is among the most serious offenses the Court has seen. It is a complete lack or regard for life.”
On November 8, 2008, a federal jury in Nashville found Dunn guilty on all counts of a twenty-one- count indictment, including the solicitation to murder law enforcement officers and an informant; possessing a machine gun, as well as another firearm, in furtherance of drug trafficking; conspiracy charges; attempts to obstruct justice; and possessing and distributing marijuana and cocaine.
Proof at trial revealed that Dunn and his girlfriend, Misty Langford, had been selling cocaine and marijuana to an undercover Putnam County sheriff’s deputy and a confidential informant. Through discovery proceedings after their arrests, Dunn and Langford learned the true identity of the confidential informant and the undercover sheriff’s deputy. The informant subsequently died from a drug overdose and Dunn and Langford determined that, if the undercover sheriff’s deputy died, there would be no other witnesses to testify against them.
As part of the investigation into the initial murder plot, another confidential informant introduced an undercover ATF agent to Langford and Dunn as the purported “hit man.” Dunn agreed to pay $15,000 to the “hit man” for the murder of the undercover sheriff’s deputy and provided the “hit man” $300 and approximately 15 grams in cocaine as a down payment. Later that day, Dunn and Langford were arrested.
While in federal custody awaiting trial, Dunn learned the identity of the undercover ATF agent and the second confidential informant. Dunn then initiated another plan to have the sheriff’s deputy, the undercover ATF agent, and the confidential informant murdered. He solicited a cellmate to commit the murders, promising him drugs and cash as payment. Dunn orchestrated the second murder plot through a series of letters from prison.
U.S. Attorney Ed Yarbrough stated, “This case is a sad reminder that there are dangerous offenders out there who pose a threat not only for the public but law enforcement officers as well. Judge Campbell’s sentence guarantees that Mr. Dunn will never again be free to plan and commit crimes such as these. The investigators and prosecutors are to be congratulated for doing an outstanding job in bringing him to justice.” “Dunn viewed the solution to all of his charges as murder, murder and more murder,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge, James Cavanaugh. “He concocted a diabolical plot to kill a deputy and informant which was thwarted by an undercover ATF Special Agent. He then plotted to kill the undercover ATF Special Agent and an informant after being caught in his first botched attempt. The best place for Dunn is a gated community for life.”
In December 2008, Misty Langford pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit murder for hire in United States District Court and was sentenced to seventy-five months imprisonment. At the time of Dunn’s sentencing, the court described Langford as a “poor pitiful creature manipulated by drugs and love.”
This case was investigated by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Tennessee Highway Patrol Criminal Investigation Division. The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Van Vincent and Blanche Cook.