Affairs, 'dark web' scam in focus as Minnesota murder-for-hire trial begins

Washington County opened its trial against Stephen Allwine Monday, a case with a plot stripped from the pages of a murder mystery—sex, lies, murder and a hit man for hire.

A criminal complaint from January 2017 details an unsuccessful attempt by the 44-year-old to hire a hitman to kill his wife, Amy Allwine, alleging that as the plan unraveled he personally carried out the act by shooting her and staging it as a suicide.

Prosecutors are now alleging that Allwine, a deeply religious man who served as a deacon and church elder, had at least three affairs with women he met on the website Ashley Madison that served as the impetus to kill his wife.

Instead of divorcing her, police say the information technology worker took to the "dark web" as user DOGDAYGOD and was scammed by a now-defunct website called "Besa Mafia" that FBI officials say would regularly take Bitcoin for killings and beatings it would never carry out. Detectives later found a Bitcoin key on Allwine's phone that linked him to an attempt on his wife's life.

After losing $13,000 to the site, prosecutors say he drugged his wife and shot her in the head himself, later sending their then-eight-year-old son into their house to "discover" her body.

Allwine's defense team, however, argues that the evidence being cited is circumstantial, with a lack of fingerprints, DNA or a confession.

Read more on Fox 9 Minnesota.