Two men and a woman are scheduled to be arraigned today on charges that they tried to arrange the murder of a Canoga Park man for $500.
The plot was foiled, Los Angeles police said Monday, when authorities were tipped off and had a police officer pose as the hit man.
Scheduled to be arraigned in Van Nuys Municipal Court are Guillermo Ruiz, 57, of Canoga Park, Donald Beck, 59, of Canoga Park and Kimberly Cecelones, 20, of Panorama City. All were arrested on suspicion of solicitation for the commission of murder and are being held without bail at Van Nuys Jail, Sgt. Don Kitchen said.
The trio had planned to kill a custodian at a private elementary school in Canoga Park, where Ruiz also worked as a custodian, Officer Karl Parrick said. Ruiz told the undercover officer that he was looking for revenge because he recently had been beaten up by two men hired by the custodian, Parrick said. The school and the custodian were not named.
Parrick said police were told of the plot Friday morning by a man who said he had been asked by Ruiz to help find a paid killer.
Officer Tom Campbell, posing as a hit man, said he then contacted Ruiz and scheduled a meeting to "get the details on the job." At the meeting, Ruiz said there was also an "ongoing personality dispute between the two custodians," Campbell said. "We also haggled about price and settled on $500 . . . Life is cheap at times."
Campbell said that, at a second meeting, held about 7 p.m. Friday in a Van Nuys restaurant, he and Ruiz "finalized the murder plans" and discussed when and where the custodian was to be killed. Cecelones, who also attended the meeting, was to supply the undercover officer with a gun for the killing, the officer said.
After the details were worked out, Campbell said, he identified himself and arrested Ruiz and Cecelones with the help of other officers posing as customers in the restaurant.
Beck, who allegedly set up the first telephone conversation between Campbell and Ruiz, was arrested a short time later at his Canoga Park home, Parrick said.