A Laurel man pleaded guilty Monday in a murder-for-hire scheme after offering an undercover police officer $15,000 to murder his wife.
Aafaq Manejwala, 37, pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation to commit murder in Howard County Circuit Court, said Wayne Kirwan, spokesman for Howard County State's Attorney's Office.
During the Nov. 21 plea hearing, Assistant State's Attorney Susan Weinstein said police learned about Manejwala's plans from a woman he had contacted through a Craigslist ad for sexual services. When Manejwala asked the woman to kill his wife, Weinstein said the woman reported him to the Laurel Police Department, who contact Howard County police.
In March, a police detective posed as the woman's cousin from North Carolina, offering to kill Manejwala's wife in her sleep and make it look like a home robbery or burglary. Manejwala and the undercover officer had several planning meetings in High Ridge Park in Laurel.
At their final meeting in the early morning on March 29, Manejwala handed the detective $100 as a deposit and scheduled the murder for May 5, Kirwan said. Weinstein told the court that Manejwala was arrested at his home shortly after the meeting, where police found his financial records showing "tremendous debts" and a $1 million life insurance policy on his wife.
Kirwan said Manejwala's family, including his wife and parents, were in the courtroom during Monday's hearing, where prosecutors asked for a 20-year prison sentence.
Manejwala's sentencing is currently scheduled for late January 2017.