These men have been watching far too much Dexter. Former death row inmate and Chicago Police Department officer Steven Mandell (formerly Manning), 61, and his fellow former cop turned accomplice Gary Engel, 61, were arrested by the FBI today on charges of attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
Oh yeah, and they also allegedly planned to dismember the victim’s body and drain the blood in a specially outfitted killing room, dubbed by the duo as “Club Med.”
The plot was mildly predictable. The former cops planned to pose as (you guessed it) cops and falsely arrest the unidentified victim. They had a fake warrant and fake weapons as well. The killing room had been equipped with a sink, sturdy weight-supporting counter, a loaded .22 caliber pistol, and tools for cutting up the body. Mandell and Engel met earlier this week to review the plans. The FBI was listening (and recording) the entire conversation.
The former CPD officers have been charged under the Hobbs Act, also known as 18 U.S.C. 1951. This law prohibits the conspiring, attempt, or actual use of violence or threats thereof to acquire money or property from "commerce," meaning an individual or business. A conviction is punishable by up to 20 years on each count. Both have been charged with two counts, as there was an attempt and a conspiracy.
In order to be convicted of conspiracy, there has to be more than a simple plot. There must be at least one overt action in furtherance of the plan, such as the setting up of the kill room or even the purchasing of the handcuffs.
Mandell was formerly on death row for the murder of a trucker in 1993. That conviction, along with a Missouri kidnapping charge, was overturned and he was not retried.
November 6, 2012 Editor's note: On Monday, November 5, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Gary Engel was found dead in his jail cell. Suicide is suspected.
- Consult a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney (FindLaw)
- Former cops arrested after FBI thwarts extortion plot (Daily Herald)
- Attempt, Conspiracy and Aiding (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- United States v. Steven Mandell and Gary Engell (Criminal Complaint)