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A former pastor sent to prison for impregnating a 17-year-old girl is now accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill his pastor boss and the judge who oversaw his case.
Jacob Malone, 37, is facing multiple charges of solicitation to commit murder after authorities say he tried to get two different men to kill two of the people involved in his case because “he wanted to get revenge,” according to the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.
Malone had been serving a three-to-six-year state prison sentence at SCI Laurel Highlands for sexually assaulting and impregnating a teenage girl when he allegedly offered a fellow inmate Angelo Tomeo $5,000 to kill Pastor Harold Lee Wiggins, the head of the church where he'd once worked and a “key witness” in the case, according to the criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com.
The inmate told authorities that Malone had offered to pay more money if the inmate would also kill Common Pleas Judge Jacqueline Cody, who had presided over his sexual assault case.
Malone was allegedly angry at Cody because she had rejected a negotiated sentence of two to four years in the case, saying it was too lenient, according to The Daily Local News.
“You are serving a sentence much lighter than the crime deserves,” she told Malone at the time. “The things you have done are inexcusable.”
The inmate Malone approached reported the alleged request to the Chester County District Attorney’s Office in July 2019 and an investigation began.
Chester County Detective John O’Donnell met with Tomeo to discuss the information Malone had allegedly given him during their conversations.
O’Donnell then drove to Calvary Fellowship, where the murder was supposed to take place, and had Wiggins walk through the procedures surrounding the Sunday services and the collection of money. The procedures in place at the church matched with the details Tomeo, who had never been to the church, had provided to authorities, according to the complaint.
The case was transferred to the Pennsylvania State Police, according to the district attorney. The state police discovered that Malone had also allegedly discussed his desire to “get revenge on people involved in his case” with his one-time cellmate Anthony Yerger.
Although the two never discussed specifics, Yerger later told authorities that Malone said he “seemed like the person to find someone for me.”
Yerger said he encouraged Malone to drop the issue and Malone agreed to “put it behind him,” according to the criminal complaint.
Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan called the allegations against Malone “extremely serious.”
“Most importantly, we can confirm that the victims involved in this case are safe,” she said.
Malone, who once worked at Calvary Fellowship in Downingtown, was arrested in 2016 after his young victim gave birth.
Police have said the abuse began in September 2014 when the girl, who had been living with his family, was 17 years old.
She told authorities she had thought of Malone as a father figure and that he took advantage of her “mentally, physically, spiritually” while she was living with the family.
Pastor Mike Edelman, who spoke on behalf of Pastor Wiggins, told local station WPVI that the church had forgiven Malone.
“We live in world full of trouble of all kinds,” he said. “What (Wiggins) shared with his staff was, ‘Let’s stay focused, let’s pray and allow the authorities to do what they’ve been called to do.’”
Malone is awaiting a preliminary hearing on the latest charges against him, according to the district attorney’s office.
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