DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Illinois

For Immediate Release

Friday, October 24, 2014
Zachary T. Fardon
, United States Attorney
Contact: Everett McKinley Dirksen

Des Plaines Man Sentenced To More Than 17½ Years in Federal Prison for Murder-For-Hire of Estranged Wife and Her Friends

CHICAGO — A former Des Plaines man who solicited two undercover law enforcement officers to kill his estranged wife and her friends was sentenced today to 17 years and 7 months in federal prison.  The defendant, ZENON GRZEGORCZYK, has been in federal custody since he was arrested and charged in May 2012, following an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He pleaded guilty this past July in U.S. District Court.

Grzegorczyk, 51, was sentenced to serve 151 months in prison for murder-for-hire, consecutive to 60 months for possession of a firearm while arranging the murders.   He must serve at least 85 percent of his 211-month sentence and there is no parole.

“Other than actually committing the murders, it doesn’t get much more serious than this,” U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo said in imposing the sentence.

Grzegorczyk’s  conduct  posed  a  real  risk  to  several  potential  victims  and  to  the community at large, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennie H. Levin and Matthew M. Schneider argued at sentencing.  Grzegorczyk met with undercover officers on three occasions in April and May 2, 2012 to discuss the murder of his estranged wife and her friends. Initially, Grzegorczyk met with the  officers  to  discuss  the  sale  and  shipment  of  firearms  to  Poland  when  he  turned  the conversation to murder-for-hire.

Grzegorczyk told the officers that he wanted the proposed victims to be burned alive and said, “grab them, go some quiet place ― then burn them. Believe me, I want to see those faces, I want to see those faces ― but can’t.”

Later, Grzegorczyk showed the officers several photos of intended victims and said he was willing to pay $5,000 for each person killed.  He then identified the address of his estranged wife’s residence and told the officers that they should conduct surveillance because the intended victims spent time there.  He said the number of victims could change depending on who was present because he did not want any witnesses, and he agreed to pay them a $3,000 deposit for the murders.

At  their  third  meeting,  Grzegorczyk  gave  the  officers  several  additional  photos  of intended victims and opened a brief case containing $45,000 in cash and a 9mm semi-automatic handgun with two magazines of ammunition.  Grzegorczyk said that he intended to leave for Poland in early June.

The sentence was announced today by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Carl J. Vasilko, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of ATF.

Field Division: Chicago Field Division