Joel Rosquette, a former tour bus driver living in the Washington Heights area of New York City, has been arrested after it was discovered that he had attempted to put a hit on his noisy neighbors. He had also originally planned to take out his superintendent, but changed his plan mid-way through.
Rosquette was convinced that his neighbors, who often threw parties late into the night, were selling drugs, according to The Washington Post. Several people in the building had spoken to the property's management asking for the partiers to be evicted but nothing was done about the matter. Rosquette believed the superintendent was sleeping with one of the residents in the unit.
A federal criminal complaint shows that Rosquette planned on having the super killed as revenge for all the sleepless nights. An acquaintance set him up with a man who did “that kind of work" for the price of $10,000 (with a $1,000 down payment).
In reality, said acquaintance was an FBI informant and the hit man was an undercover agent.
Rosquette was arrested on March 6. He was charged with with murder-for-hire and potentially faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
FBI agents were able to record conversations about the hits.
“Rage is rage,” Rosquette had said over the phone on Feb. 22. “When you have rage, you do things. … Rage in the heart. When you have that, it’s personal.”
Rosquette's plan had been complicated by the fact that he couldn't actually afford the cost of the killing. To get the money needed to have his neighbors taken out, he first planned on having a friend who ran a gas station killed (in order to steal money from his safe).
FBI agents pretended that they would go through with the murder of the gas station worker.
“I know where he is, I know where to find him,” the undercover agent told Rosquette. “Next time you hear from me is to tell you it’s done.”
Rosquette emptied the contents of his bank account, a total of $75, and gave it to the agent in exchange for the $12,000 supposedly taken from the gas station. Rosquette then agreed to use that money to place a hit on his neighbors. He was arrested following the discussion of the killings.
FBI agents have discussed the sting in public statements.
"As alleged, Rosquette commissioned a hit man to carry out three murders on his behalf. In the end, he was fooled by the merits of his own plan," FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said in a statement Tuesday, according to CNN. "Today, we foiled this murder-for-hire scheme, sparing three innocent lives a most unfortunate fate."
In interviews, Rosquette's family blamed the situation on "mental problems."
“He was born like that. He’s had some nerve problems all his life," said Maida Zangrandi, Rosquette's mother, to the New York Daily News.
[Photo: Screenshot via Washington Post]