DENVER — An editor of "Soldier of Fortune" said Wednesday that it was just coincidence that the magazine stopped accepting personal want ads at about the same time that it was linked to a Texas murder-for-hire case and an Indiana inmate's escape plot.
"The ad policy was not changed specifically for this thing in Indiana or Texas," associate editor Jim Pate said. "It was done months ago. Unfortunately, it popped up about the time this thing was going into effect. That is coincidental."
The controversial magazine for military buffs and mercenaries announced Monday that it would no longer take personal classified ads offering services for hire or that "otherwise solicit employment."
Indiana State Police say an advertisement in the February "Soldier of Fortune" was used to recruit a squad of men to free Roger A. Jaske during his manslaughter trial in Anderson, Ind. The Indiana plot was foiled before the commando-style courtroom raid could be staged, authorities said.
Nine men have been arrested in the case since Sunday. Officials said Tuesday that they had found weapons and ammunition in raids on a motel where eight of the alleged mercenaries were arrested, along with detailed plans for freeing Jaske during jury selection on Tuesday. The trial began Wednesday, with extensive security precautions.
"Mercenary looking for male Caucasian partner, age 18-25," said the ad that officials believe was Jaske's. "Willing to accept the risk. Must have guts, be able to travel and start work immediately. No special skills required. High pay guaranteed. Ask for Sundance."
Pate also quoted the March, 1985, ad that has been linked to the Texas murder-for-hire case:
"Ex-Marines, Nam vets, weapons specialists, jungle warfare, political . . . high-risk assignments in U.S. or overseas. World Security Group (and a phone number)."
Robert Black Jr., 39, was convicted and sentenced to death last week in the murder of his wife, Sandra, at their home in Bryan, Tex. Prosecutors said that Black placed the ad and offered a mercenary $10,000 to kill her.