NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A National Guard member in Tennessee who is accused of sending his resume to a website called Rent-A-Hitman is facing federal charges. According to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Josiah Ernesto Garcia, 21, of Hermitage, is believed to have submitted an inquiry to the website on Feb. 16 indicating he was interested in working as a hired killer.
The website was originally created in 2005 to advertise a cyber security startup company, but the company never took off, and over the next decade, it reportedly received many inquiries about murder-for-hire services.
The website’s administrator then converted the website to a parody site that contains false testimonials from those who have claimed to use hitman services, an intake form where people can request services and an option to apply to be a hired killer.
One of the fake testimonials states, “Caught my husband cheating with the babysitter and our relationship was terminated after a free public relations consultation. I’m single again and looking to mingle. Thanks Guido and RENT-A-HITMAN!”
In his inquiry, Garcia indicated that he had “military experience, and rifle expertise” and requested an “in-depth job description,” according to the complaint. On Feb. 18, the website owner replied under the alias of “Guido Fanelli, CEO of Rent-A-Hitman.”
The website owner requested a resume, headshot and an image of Garcia’s identification, which according to the complaint, he provided. Garcia’s resume reportedly indicated that he had joined the Air National Guard in July 2021 and was still a member.
His resume also stated that he was a “Marksman Expert, awarded for not missing a single bullseye on all of the targets and for shooting expert with 2 (or more) weapons,” the complaint said.
From Feb. 20 to March 13, Garcia reportedly sent multiple follow-up emails to the website owner because he had not heard back after submitting his resume. On March 16, the website owner responded at the direction of the FBI.
His reply said, “Josiah, a Field Coordinator will be in touch in the near future. You will receive a message when they are ready. Timing is based on client needs,” according to the complaint.
Garcia later agreed to do a phone interview after an FBI undercover employee contacted him on April 3, the complaint said. During the interview, Garcia allegedly said he would be comfortable taking fingers or ears as trophies or performing torture at a client’s request.
When asked what made him interested in the position, he replied, “Being in the military, doing that sort of work already. I was looking into civilian law enforcement, but that’s not for me. I wanted to do something more exciting,” according to the complaint.
Garcia met with the undercover agent on April 6 at a restaurant in Nashville and, according to investigators, continued to express interest in working as a hired killer. A few days later, the agent sent Garcia a text message saying a job was available.
He met with the agent at a Hendersonville, Tennessee, park on April 12 and was given a “target packet” consisting of photographs and a description of the fictional target’s name, weight, age, height, address and place of employment, as well as a downpayment of $2,500, officials said. The agent told Garcia the client was paying $5,000 for the target to be killed.
Investigators said Garcia asked if he needed to “take a photo (of the dead body) as proof that the job was complete,” and he was subsequently arrested by the FBI.
After his arrest, Garcia reportedly told investigators he needed money, and his family could not afford rent. When he learned he was hired for another medical job on April 7, Garcia said he started having second thoughts about the hitman job, according to the complaint.
Garcia told investigators he was meeting with the agent to tell him he had changed his mind. However, Garcia is still believed to have violated federal law.
The Department of Justice said Garcia was charged on April 13 with the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.