MONTPELIER — The man serving a life sentence in New Mexico for killing 15-year-old DeAndra Florucci in Barre sent two people cross-country to kill two men in Vermont, according to an affidavit from a New Mexico state police investigator.
Those murders never took place. Instead, Dana Martin, who pleaded guilty to the 2000 slaying of Florucci, alerted New Mexico authorities that the men were on their way to Vermont to carry out his orders, Clinton Norris said in the affidavit. And both suspects were arrested: one on a probation violation, the other on conspiracy charges.
Norris, of the New Mexico State Police investigations bureau in Las Cruces, said Martin instructed the suspects to strangle the two intended targets with paisley neckties, the same kind used in Florucci’s death.
Norris’ affidavit identifies the targets by the initials P.L. and M.S. He did not say where in Vermont the intended targets live or why Martin wanted them dead. Vermont authorities say the two targets live in different communities.
The arrests took place this month. Authorities say Tanner Ruane, 23, and Mark Staake, 41, both of Albuquerque, N.M., got lost and drove to the U.S. border post at Highgate Springs on Nov. 19. When they turned around to avoid entering Canada, they were approached by federal border agents, who discovered Staake was wanted in New Mexico on a probation violation.
Staake, who had met Martin in the New Mexico prison, was then arrested by the Vermont State Police.
Ruane was released but arrested the next day at a truck stop in Rotterdam, N.Y., after the New York State Police were alerted he was in the area and that a warrant out of New Mexico had been issued for his arrest on two charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and other charges. Norris’ affidavit was attached to the arrest warrant.
After Staake’s arrest, Ruane reached Martin by telephone and Martin promised Ruane $2,500 per body part, the affidavit said.
New Mexico State Police haven’t returned repeated calls for comment, and it could not be determined Wednesday if additional charges would be brought in the alleged conspiracy.
Vermont State Police Maj. Ed Ledo, who arrested Martin in 2000 and now heads the criminal division, said Wednesday the convict has a long history of claiming to have committed crimes he did not as part of a long-running effort to be incarcerated in the federal prison system. Ledo didn’t speculate as to why Martin was determined to be a federal prison inmate.
“He’s made several claims over the years that he’s either been involved with other homicides, kidnappings across state lines, that kind of thing,” Ledo said. “He’s threatened federal judges, he’s done anything he can as part of an effort to get into the federal prison system — that’s his ultimate goal.”
None of Martin’s claims could be verified, Ledo said.
Ledo, who read the New Mexico affidavit, said Martin’s alleged involvement in the New Mexico case fits his profile.
“When I started reading it, I was kind of dumbfounded,” Ledo said. “That’s the normal pattern: Set it all up and then drop the dime.”
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