Army sergeant charged in murder-for-hire scheme to kill children

Posted at 11:55 AM, May 7, 2024

NORWICH, Conn. (Court TV) — Two brothers, one of whom is a sergeant in the U.S. Army, are charged with plotting the murders of a woman, her young children and her boyfriend.

booking photos of Joshua and Jeremiah Peikert

Jeremiah (R) and Joshua (L) Piekert (Connecticut State Police)

Investigators say they were alerted to Sgt. Jeremiah and Joshua Peikert’s sinister plan after the intended victim received a letter. In an arrest warrant reviewed by Court TV, Connecticut State Police said the victim, identified only as a 29-year-old woman, called police after receiving a letter from an inmate at the Corrigan Correctional Center that warned her about a plot to kill her and her family.

Police spoke to the inmate who wrote the letter, and who had previously been Joshua’s cellmate. He said that Joshua approached him and said that he wanted the victim killed along with her children, ages 10 and 1, and her boyfriend. The witness told Joshua that he would take the job for a $500 “finder’s fee” to be paid half before, and half after the job was done.

When police spoke to the inmate, he presented them with a piece of paper on which was written the victim’s address, a description of where the victims would sleep and the location of a spare key to the home.

Phone records reviewed by police indicated that after he was bailed out of jail, Joshua had discussed a “construction job” and “materials” with the inmate, and additionally confirmed that Jeremiah transferred a total of $250 to the inmate’s jail account.

Detectives arranged to interview Jeremiah in Fort Cavazos, Texas, where he was stationed. During that interview, he admitted that his younger brother had asked him to transfer money to the inmate, but denied knowing it was to pay for a murder.

“I knew the ‘construction job’ was not related to any type of actual construction,” Jeremiah told police. “I knew the ‘job’ was related to having Victim #1 hurt. I was unaware of the specifics, but knew the money I sent was being paid to Witness #1 for his role in arranging to have Victim #1 hurt. I did not believe the kids were planned to be involved in this scheme.”

Jeremiah told officers that Joshua had “displayed violent tendencies” since childhood and described him as “manipulative.”

Detectives did not detail what relationship existed between the brothers and the victim, or any alleged motive.

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