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updated: 12/5/2012 6:26 AM

Former Algonquin attorney gets 8 years in murder-for-hire scheme

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A former Algonquin attorney was sentenced Tuesday to 8 years in federal prison after pleading guilty in a murder-for-hire plot against his fiancee's ex-boyfriend, a defense attorney said.

Jason Smiekel, 31, was arrested in August 2011 in Elgin by federal authorities on charges of soliciting an undercover agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to commit the murder.

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Smiekel pleaded guilty earlier this year, and a lengthy sentencing hearing before Judge Frederick Kapala was held in Rockford last week.

Defense attorney Ralph Meczyk argued that Smiekel suffered from an "generalized anxiety disorder" that diminished his mental capacity.

Smiekel faced a top sentence of 10 years, which is what the U.S. Attorney's Office argued for Tuesday.

Meczyk argued for a three-year term, but Kapala disagreed.

"It was a very thoughtful decision. This judge was very thorough," Meczyk said. "(Smiekel) was not disappointed (in the sentence). He seemed to be at peace with himself. He was contrite."

Smiekel has been held for about 15 months and will receive credit for that on his sentence. Overall, he has about 5.4 more years to serve, Meczyk said.

According to court documents. authorities said that Smiekel was arrested after giving $7,000 cash to an undercover agent to commit the murder. Earlier in 2011, he had paid $8,000 to two people to commit the crime. The intended victim was not injured.

Smiekel's laws license also was suspended indefinitely by the Illinois Supreme Court in response to the charges.

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