A Minnesota preacher who used an adultery website to be unfaithful to his wife is facing a premeditated first-degree murder charge after allegedly attempting to hire a hitman to kill her, taking matters into his own hands and then failing to stage her death as a suicide.
44-year-old Stephen Allwine’s wife, Amy Allwine, 43, was found dead in November of 2016 on her bedroom floor with a gunshot wound to the head. Although her husband insisted she must have committed suicide, investigators were able to rule out the possibility for several reasons. The gun was found on her left side despite her being right-handed, and there was no gunpowder on her hands or burns on her head. Additionally, the couple’s home surveillance footage only showed Stephen Allwine entering and leaving the house. The victim also had large amounts of scopolamine in her system, a drug used to treat nausea that can sedate a person with high dosages.
Upon further investigation, authorities learned Allwine had engaged in at least three extramarital affairs with women he met on the adultery website Ashley Madison. A supposed man of God, police believe he turned to the dark web to hire a hitman to hill his wife instead of getting a divorce, allegedly paying a website called Besa Mafia $6,000 in bitcoin for the service and asking them to make it “look like an accident.”
“He was seeing other women but he didn’t want to divorce her because of his position in the church,” Washington County prosecutor Jamie Kreuser said.
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However, when the website appeared to be fake, Allwine carried out the murder himself by sedating his wife and fatally shooting her with the 9 mm Springfield XDS handgun he had just gotten a permit for months prior, prosecutors argued. Authorities have since traced the bitcoin code used to pay for the hitman to his electronic devices. They also claim to have found gunshot residue on the preacher’s hand, although his defense attorney has denied the allegation.
“It sounds like an amazing story, but it’s not a TV show or a movie but real life,” his lawyer said, denying the prosecution’s story. “Just because he had an affair doesn’t mean he killed his wife.”
Allwine’s trial began on Tuesday and is expected to continue throughout the week.
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