A former preacher is on trial for allegedly spending months plotting his wife's death. As Twin Cities reported, Stephen Allwine from Cottage Grove, Minnesota, is on trial for the death of his wife Amy Allwine. Authorities allege that the 43-year-old accessed the "dark web" to find a hit man to plan the crime.
Those plans, however, ended up falling through. Prosecutors allege that Allwine, an IT specialist who was once connected to the United Church of God, then poisoned his wife and shot her in the head with the family's 9mm gun as a staged suicide on November 13, 2016. He called 911 and claimed she shot herself. A medical examination revealed excessive doses of scopolamine, a drug used to treat nausea, in the victim's body. She did not have a prescription for the drug.
“Who would want to do this?” Assistant Washington County Attorney Jamie Kreuser asked. “Someone who didn’t want to be married to her anymore.”
Authorities allege that Allwine wanted to protect his respected position among their local church. He was a deacon and church elder at a Newport Church, where he wrote sermons and counseled married couples. Through that role, he apparently learned about the extramarital dating site Ashley Madison, said Kreuser.
Allwine met at least two women through the site. His attorney, Kevin Devore, confirmed that Allwine did have romantic relationships with other women, but said the affairs don't mean he killed his wife “or even didn’t love his wife.”
The prosecution disagrees, arguing that Allwine's divorce would affect his role as an elder at the church. They believe that Allwine solicited his wife's murder on the dark web under the username “dogdaygod” on Besa Mafia, a website connected to hired murders and assaults. Two attack attempts were allegedly discussed, but were never carried out.
That same user, "dogdaygod," then searched for scopolamine and paid for it using digital currency. According to detectives, they found a digital currency code on Allwine's phone that matched a code posted to the Besa Mafia website by user “dogdaygod.” Kreuser said that code would have been “virtually impossible to replicate.”
Allwine's defense attorney disagrees with the credibility of the digital forensics search. He also says that physical evidence from the crime scene was "contaminated," citing that police officers removed the gun to take crime scene photos and then returned it to its original position.
He adds that there are strange inconsistencies, noting that at least three neighbors heard two cars "racing" from the home the night of the death, and an unknown user remotely accessed Allwine's computer the same day.
Allwine was initially charged with second-degree murder in January 2017. That charge was raised to first-degree premeditated murder following a grand jury indictment in March.
[Photo: Washington County Police Department]