MAPLEWOOD, Missouri—A 32-year-old Maplewood man was arrested after he allegedly posted an ad on Craigslist.org offering $1 million as a reward to anyone who killed a Maplewood police officer.
The United States Attorney’s Office announced on Monday that police arrested William Lawrence in connection to an online “murder for hire” ad posted on the popular, private seller website Craigslist.org.
According to court documents, Maplewood Police were informed on March 1 by another St. Louis area police department about the ad that read, “Wanted dead, All the Maplewood city police officers, paying one million per head.” The posting also mentioned $2 million for the head of specific detectives.
Maplewood detectives conducted an investigation and traced the IP address of the posting back to Lawrence’s apartment, where he was taken into custody.
Lawrence now faces a federal charge of murder for hire.
This isn’t Lawrence’s first run in with the law.
Police arrested him in early February for marijuana possesion and confiscated two weapons. His mother says police wouldn’t return his guns, which really angered him.
“My son was upset. Where would he get $1 million?” asked Judith Friest.
If convicted, Lawrence could spend up to 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000.
Friest says she thinks authoriites are blowing the issue out of proportion.
“Yes, something’s wrong. Something’s very wrong,” she said.
But police say they couldn’t risk someone taking Lawrence up on his offer.
“When these threats are made known to us we certainly take them seriously,” said Steve Kruse, Maplewood police chief.
Lawrence remains in federal custody and will be arraigned on the charges Tuesday.