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Article updated: 8/16/2011 4:54 PM

Algonquin attorney indicted in murder-for-hire

By Elena Ferrarin

An Algonquin attorney was indicted Tuesday in federal court and charged with using his cellphone and car in what authorities said was a scheme to kill his girlfriend's ex-husband.

Jason W. Smiekel was charged with two counts of using a cellphone and three counts of using an automobile in the murder-for-hire scheme, according to court records. He was also charged with two counts of causing "another" to use a cellphone in the scheme, according to the indictment.

Randall Samborn, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's Northern District of Illinois office, declined to say who "another" referred to in the indictment. Smiekel is being held without bail by federal authorities, Samborn said.

Smiekel is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday before Judge P. Michael Mahoney in federal court in Rockford, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office. If convicted he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the seven counts.

Smiekel was arrested Aug. 4 in a parking lot of a restaurant on Randall Road in Elgin after giving $7,000 cash to an undercover agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) who was posing as a hit man, authorities said. Smiekel was under the impression the murder would take place at 5:30 p.m. that day.

Earlier this year, he had already paid $8,000 to two individuals to commit the murder, with the promise of $7,000 more when the job was done, authorities said.

Smiekel had previously represented his girlfriend in her divorce proceedings, authorities have said.

The ATF's Rockford office conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Algonquin Police Department.

Attorney Carol Hill, of Crystal Lake, who worked with Smiekel at the law firm Mohr, Hill & Smiekel in Algonquin, said she was "shocked" to learn about the charges. The firm is now called Mohr & Associates, a representative said.

"I have no knowledge of any of the facts involved. This occurred after I had left the office," Hill wrote via email. "I can tell you that in the five years I have known Jason, I have seen nothing that would suggest to me that he is capable of this type of action."

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