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Police: Church Elder's Ashley Madison Affairs Led Him To Murdering His Wife

After a failed attempt to find a hit man on the dark web, authorities believe Stephen Allwine, who has pleaded not guilty, took matters into his own hands. 

By Sowmya Krishnamurthy
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A conservative church elder was allegedly driven to murder on the dark web. According to the Idado Statesman, more details are surfacing as Stephen Allwine stands trial in Minnesota. A former elder in the United Church of God, he is accused of murdering his wife in 2016 because he was having affairs.

On Nov. 13, Amy Allwine was found shot dead in the family's home in Cottage Grove. He called 911 after coming home with their 9-year-old son. Stephen is currently on trial for premeditated first-degree murder, according to The Washington Post. Authorities assert that the church elder was driven to murder due to his staunch faith and that he was cheating on his wife using Ashley Madison. Stephen has pleaded not guilty.

In May 2016, hackers cracked into Besa Mafia, an Albanian organized crime site on the dark web, and found emails between potential clients looking to trade murder for digital currency. That's how authorities learned of the user "dogdaygod," who was trying to arrange the murder of Amy Allwine. The user claimed that Amy "tore my family apart by sleeping with my husband, and is stealing clients from my business" and said that the death should "look like an accident."

Friends and family do not believe that Amy was having an affair, and say she was a devout church goer. 

Authorities warned the Allwines and Stephen got a permit for a handgun. Though a payment was made for Amy's murder, authorities believe the crime site was a scam and a hit was never placed. The gun that Stephen purchased was found near the victim's body but no gunshot residue was discovered on her. Authorities believe that Stephen staged a fake suicide because of his affairs. "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 told the jury previously.

His lawyer refutes the claims and says no physical evidence connects Stephen to the death.  "It sounds like an amazing story, but it's not a TV show or a movie but real life," attorney Kevin DeVore said. "Just because he had an affair doesn't mean he killed his wife." 

According to the United Church of God marriage is defined as a commitment for life: "Couples who decide to marry are expected to know one another well enough, before they marry, in order to assess as closely as possible how they will get along after marriage. The Church strongly recommends counseling with the ministry," the church's website explains. "Even if couples have a short courtship, fail to counsel before marrying or have dysfunctional backgrounds, none of these recognized troubles justify the later putting away of [divorcing] a mate with the freedom to remarry. Marriage is a commitment for life. Failure to plan properly is not grounds for the future dissolving of a marriage."

[Photo: Washington County Jail]

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