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Letter: Murder-for-hire a trick

A 68-year-old man accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill his ex-wife has told the state Supreme Court in a letter that he was drugged by an acquaintance and intimidated by an actor into making a deal for his wife's murder.

John R. Fabritz of Hudson has been in and out of jail awaiting trial on a solicitation to commit first-degree murder charge since his arrest Oct. 6, 1999.

Pasco County sheriff's deputies say Fabritz met with an undercover deputy _ playing a hit man _ at the Master's Inn at State Road 54 and Interstate 75.

Detective Peter Weekes said in a deposition that Fabritz asked the "hit man" to kill his ex-wife, Joann, and make it look like an accident. While the two struck a deal, Weekes and other detectives were in a room next door, recording the meeting on video and audiotape.

But in his handwritten letter to the Supreme Court, written across nine pages of yellow, legal-size paper, Fabritz tells a different story.

Fabritz claims a friend told him his girlfriend was connected to a New York crime family and that her uncle was a Mafia attorney who could reduce the $1,000 monthly alimony Fabritz was saddled with.

After a few missed meetings, Fabritz said the woman alerted him that "Uncle Hector," the attorney, was in town. When Fabritz said he was too drunk to drive, she showed up at his door. When he claimed he had a headache, she gave him what he thought was an Advil, Fabritz told the judges.

"I found out later that she gave me an ecstasy pill drug," Fabritz claimed.

Then, under the influence of alcohol and ecstasy, Fabritz said he was shoved into the motel room where he figured out "Uncle Hector" wasn't an attorney but a hit man. In a panic, fearing he would be killed, Fabritz said he agreed to a $5,000 price for the hit man to kill his wife.

"I did my best to sound authentic just to get this experience over with so I could get out of there without being harmed," he wrote.

Leaving the motel room, Fabritz was arrested by waiting deputies.

The Supreme Court forwarded the letter to the Pasco County Clerk of the Circuit Court office in Dade City, where it was recorded Monday as a civil suit demanding release from jail.

Fabritz has been in jail since April after missing a court date, unable to post $35,000 bail.

He has been through several attorneys either through disagreements or other conflicts. His latest attorney, Pedro Amador Jr., was appointed last month. Fabritz is scheduled for trial Jan. 20.