Accused robber tried to hire hit man on witness, police say

 
Saturday, February 22, 2003

Accused robber tried to hire hit man on witness, police say



By Sharon Turco
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo]
Gibson

[photo]
Hayes

[photo]
Robb

To stop a shooting victim from testifying against him, a Hamilton County Justice Center inmate hatched a murder-for-hire plot that involved his girlfriend and cellmate, according to the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office.

Dante Robb and his accused conspirators chose the wrong hit man. He was a confidential informant for the Cincinnati Police Department.

All three are charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

The Hamilton County grand jury on Friday indicted Robb, 22, of Mount Healthy, his cellmate Gregory Gibson, 33, of Forest Park, and Denise Hayes, 20, of Forest Park.

Hemant Shah, the targeted victim, said he's glad the police foiled the trio's scheme, but he's still in fear for his life, and for his family.

"This was a threat that law enforcement officials took seriously," said Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen.

Police investigators have been protecting Shah since mid-January.

Robb has been in jail since December on $500,000 bond, charged with aggravated robbery. Shah, the owner of Bud's Pony Keg in College Hill, was shot during a Nov. 25 robbery.

Robb and Gibson came up with a plan to kill Shah so he couldn't testify in court, according to the prosecutor's office. The two directed Hayes to the man they thought was a hit man with the plan and proposed payment.

Robb is accused of writing a detailed letter about how Shah was to be killed.

"We got it in the early stages," said Cincinnati homicide Detective Mary Allen. "We're still trying to figure out how it was supposed to go down."

Gibson was in jail on $750,000 bond stemming from three counts of aggravated robbery.

Shah, who was shot in the leg, said police called in mid-January saying Robb may be trying to give him trouble.

"They never said he wanted to kill me, just that there may be trouble," Shah said. "They said to be careful."

Officers stayed close to Shah, he said, watching his business and home.

"They now say I don't have to worry, but I do, I don't think this is over," Shah said.

Shah said he still plans to testify when Robb goes to court.

"I want to put him in jail for these crimes," Shah said.

In the meantime, he's taking extra precautions, including putting an electronic lock on the store to let customers in only when he sees who they are.

E-mail sturco@enquirer.com




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