A Tennessee Air National Guardsman was arrested on federal charges after applying to be a hitman on a parody website.
Josiah Ernesto Garcia, 21, was charged Thursday with the use of interstate facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire for using the fake hitman website Rentahitman.com. He was busted after meeting with an undercover FBI agent to reach a deal to murder someone for payment, U.S. Attorney Henry C. Leventis announced in a press release.
Garcia found the website in February when he was in need of money to support his family and began searching online for contract mercenary jobs, according to the press release. He then filed an employment inquiry form indicating he was interested in obtaining employment as a hitman.
He followed up on his initial request and submitted other identification documents, a headshot and a resume to prove he was an expert marksman and had been employed in the Air National Guard since July 2021. Garcia’s resume indicated he had the nickname “Reaper,” which he earned from military experience and marksmanship, and that he was an expert marksman “awarded for not missing a single bullseye on all of the targets and for shooting expert with 2 (or more) weapons.”
Garcia continued to follow up with the website administrator stating that he was prepared to begin working as soon as possible.
“Im looking for a job, that pays well, related to my military experience (Shooting and Killing the marked target) so I can support my kid on the way,” Garcia said through a follow-up email, according to a criminal complaint. “What can I say, I enjoy doing what I do, so if I can find a job that is similar to it, (such as this one) put me in coach!”
The website’s owner, Bob Innes, responded to Garcia upon a request from the FBI.
“Josiah, a Field Coordinator will be in touch in the near future. You will receive a message when they are ready. Timing is based on client needs,” Innes wrote.
An FBI undercover agent then began talking to Garcia, who agreed to kill a person for $5,000.
Garcia met the undercover agent on Wednesday at a park in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and was given a target packet of a fictional person. The packet included photographs, other information about the individual he was tasked with killing and a down payment of $2,500.
He agreed to the terms of the murder arrangement before asking the FBI agent if he needed to take a photograph of the dead body for proof. Garcia was subsequently arrested by FBI agents. Agents later searched his home and recovered an AR-style rifle.
Garcia could face up to 10 years in prison if he is convicted.
Rentahitman.com was originally created in 2005 by four friends attempting to create a cybersecurity startup company. The company ultimately failed but, over the next decade, it received many inquiries about murder-for-hire services. The website’s administrator then converted the website to a parody website containing false testimonials from people claiming to use hitman services. The website features an intake form where people can request services and an option for someone to apply to work as a hitman.