SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A parody murder-for-hire website recently played a role in the arrest of a 17-year-old in Storm Lake, Iowa, who attempted to use the site to put a hit out on a 7-year-old.
KELOLAND reached out to the owner of rentahitman.com, Bob Innes, aka Guido Fanelli, to ask about the purpose of the site.
‘Fanelli’ was reticent to speak on the current situation, as it involves pending litigation, but this is not the first time his website has led to an arrest. “So this happened again,” tweeted Fanelli of the Storm Lake incident, a reference to the larger than expected amount of people who believe his site will actually allow them to either hire or be hired as a hitman.
Fanelli sent KELOLAND News a copy of a U.S. Dept. of Justice news release outlining his involvement in other such prevented crimes.
“A Hermitage, Tennessee, man is facing federal charges after meeting with an undercover FBI agent to culminate a deal to murder an individual for payment,” reads the release.
That Tennessee man, one Josiah Garcia, was 21 years old when charged, and according to the release, he had begun searching for contract mercenary jobs online when he came across www.rentahitman.com.
Originally created in 2005 to advertise a cyber security startup company, the company failed and over the next decade it received many inquiries about murder-for-hire services,” reads the release.
While most of these were not serious, Fanelli opted to continue monitoring the correspondence and set up the website, complete with false ‘customer testimonials’ and forms to request hitman services and applications to be hired as a killer.
Aside from the testimonials, there are other indications that one might think would make someone realize the site is not serious, such as the box that asks you to accept tracking cookies when you open the webpage, the banner at the top advertising themed mugs, t-shirts and stickers, the website’s HIPPA (Hitman Information Privacy and Protection Act) Compliant label, and of course the .com domain.
In Iowa, the 17-year-old was charged with one count of solicitation to commit murder, a class C felony, and was referred to juvenile court.