A murder-for-hire plot gone wrong nearly lead to the deaths of Hudson Valley teens who were simply playing outside.

On Monday, Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced a Colorado man was sentenced for nearly killing three youths in Dutchess County.

Colorado Man Tried to Kill 3 Youths In Dutchess County

Shooting a gun
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Justin Haywood, 40, of Colorado was sentenced to 17 years in prison for his participation in a murder-for-hire scheme and related shooting near King Street Park in Poughkeepsie in 2020.

Haywood was offered $5,000 to kill another individual in Dutchess County.

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He wrongly identified, pursued, and shot at a 17-year-old boy who was playing basketball in a park with two friends in Poughkeepsie.

“Justin Haywood’s sentence shows that senseless acts of violence will be met with severe consequences. Haywood agreed to murder another individual and then shot at an innocent 17-year-old boy, who had been playing basketball with friends in a park," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. "For this crime, Haywood will spend 17 years in federal prison.”

Murder For Hire Scheme Gone Wrong In Poughkeepsie, New York


In late December 2019 and early January 2020, Haywood traveled from Colorado to North Carolina and then ultimately up to Poughkeepsie, New York, and met with a co-conspirator who offered him $5,000 to kill another male individual.

On January 15, 2020, Haywood approached three teens playing basketball in King Street Park in Poughkeepsie and attempted to shoot one of them.

Haywood then chased a 17-year-old boy and his friends, ultimately chasing them in his car as they fled on foot and firing multiple shots from inside of his car.


“As this sentence demonstrates, there is no place in our community for anyone willing to commit murder. Criminal behavior like Haywood's is a dangerous bane to society and often results in innocent people being placed in harm's way," FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said.

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