EUNICE — A 53-year-old Eunice man was arrested in an attempt to hire an undercover officer posing as a hit man to kill two Eunice residents last week, Police Chief Ronald Dies said in a news release Tuesday.
Charles Keith Runnels, 920 Sittig Road, Eunice, was arrested Saturday on two counts of solicitation for murder, the release said.
Runnels met with an undercover Lafayette city police officer brought in by the Eunice Police Department to pose as a hit man Friday, the release said.
Dies said he could not say why Runnels wanted the two people dead or how Runnels knew the two people.
Their identities were not given.
Runnels’ initial plan allegedly was to kill the two residents and then himself, although that changed when he was unable to find a gun, Dies said in the release.
Afterward, Runnels allegedly sought to hire a hit man to do the job, Dies said in the release.
Detectives used a source to contact Runnels and arrange for the hit man and a good-faith down payment for the murders, the release said.
Runnels allegedly gave the source several hundred dollars and arranged to meet with the hit man, the release said.
The undercover officer wore a hidden camera and recorded the meeting with Runnels, the release said.
The two met Friday and discussed who was to be killed and their addresses, the release said.
Runnels told the undercover officer not to harm the parents who lived with the two people, the release said.
“He later stated that he didn’t care if the undercover officer tortured the people as long as he killed them,” Dies said in the release.
Runnels allegedly agreed to pay $5,000 for each hit, although he said he would have to borrow the money from a friend, the release said.
When the meeting was concluded, detectives from the Eunice and Lafayette police departments arrested Runnels, the release said.
Dies’ release said that Runnels later confessed to hiring the hit man.
At the time of his arrest, Runnels was wearing an ankle bracelet monitored by the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office, the release said.
Runnels was on probation for a third offense driving while intoxicated charge, the release said.
Runnels also has additional charges involving narcotics pending, the release said.