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66-YEAR-OLD ACCUSED OF CONSPIRING TO KILL 3

Authorities say the man wanted someone to get him a handgun or a for-hire killer.

Joseph Gerald Cifelli wanted to kill an ex-girlfriend, her new boyfriend and a man who owed him money, authorities said. He just needed to find someone willing to carry out the deed.

Cifelli apparently consulted with the wrong person for the job - a confidential informant for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

Cifelli, 66, of 11064 Carol Drive now faces three counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. He was arrested Friday and remained behind bars Monday at the Hernando County Jail with bail set at $50,000.

Details remained sketchy Monday about the reasons why Cifelli allegedly wanted the informant to get him either a .22-caliber pistol or "someone in the business" to kill the intended victims, Charles Allen, Monica Pilkuhn and Orrin Baldwin, all of Brooksville.

Attempts to reach Allen, Pilkuhn and Baldwin on Monday were unsuccessful.

According to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, Cifelli approached the informant on at least 12 occasions in the last month. The informant said he tried to talk Cifelli out of his plans but was unsuccessful, authorities said.

A Sheriff's Office report said that a recording made on one occasion by the informant showed Cifelli intended to hire a third party to commit the murders and instructed the informant to call back with a day and time to meet to finalize the arrangements.

Because of concern for the safety of the intended victims, a sheriff's deputy contacted Cifelli on Friday, who agreed to meet with the deputy, the report states. After being informed of his Miranda rights, officials said, Cifelli admitted he conspired to kill Allen, Pilkuhn and Baldwin either by hiring another party or by obtaining a .22-caliber pistol and silencer to kill them himself.

Cifelli apparently had "personal reasons" for wanting to murder Allen and Pilkuhn and was hoping to exact revenge on Baldwin over a financial debt, said Sgt. Donna Black, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office.

"There's no good reason to want to have someone killed," Black said. "But he had his reasons. (The victims) were unaware they were being targeted until law enforcement became involved."

County records show that Cifelli has had several recent brushes with the law. In September he was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery, misdemeanor possession of marijuana and driving under the influence. Those cases are pending.

Cifelli faces arraignment on the conspiracy to commit first-degree murder charge on Nov. 18.

Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6120.

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