A jury may decide Thursday whether former police officer Cassie Crisano tried to arrange the deaths of witnesses against her from behind bars.
Crisano, 39, is charged with three counts of attempted capital murder and other offenses in connection with allegations that she tried to hire a hitman to kill a Stafford County detective and other witnesses. She could face multiple life sentences if convicted.
Prosecutors Philip Chichester and George Elsasser wrapped up their case Wednesday with numerous phone recordings and letters that they say clearly showed that Crisano was plotting multiple slayings while serving time last year in the Rappahannock Regional Jail. Detective Joseph Massine, former friend Terry Linton and former live-in boyfriend, Anthony Hopkins, are the three people she is accused of trying to have killed.
Defense attorney Alexander Raymond is expected to put on his case in Stafford Circuit Court Thursday morning, the third day of the trial. Crisano is expected to be the key defense witness.
Stafford Detective R. Mervil and former inmate Jody Byies were the key prosecution witnesses Wednesday. Byies, who was planted in Crisano’s cell after police learned about her alleged hitman plot, wore a wire that recorded conversations that authorities said showed Crisano’s intentions to have people killed.
“Get me the [expletive] over with this step,” Crisano was heard saying at one point. “I want no heartbeat. I want him gone off this planet.”
She also talked about her difficulties in transferring money so police would be unable to trace it. Apparently reminiscing about her days as a police officer in Prince Georges County, Md., Crisano told Byies, “You know why people get caught? It’s because they do stupid [expletive].”
The prosecution also played some of the numerous phone calls Crisano had with Mervil, who was playing the role of a hitman named “Jermaine” that Byies had put her in contact with.
In an apparent attempt to convince the hitman that her payment would be forthcoming, Crisano said, “I got you. I’m 100 percent ride or die behind you. I’m not like these chicken heads in here.”
In both print and on the phone, Crisano repeatedly referred to “trees,” which witnesses claimed is a code word for killing someone.
Crisano was arrested in August 2017 after Linton went to police with the allegation that she had made a false insurance claim several months earlier. Not knowing what Linton had done, Crisano contacted him after making bond and hatched a plan to burn down Stafford’s public safety building, authorities said. That was supposed to get rid of evidence against her.
Crisano was arrested again on Sept. 4, 2017, and has been in jail ever since.
Prosecutors allege that Crisano had paid $5,000 for a hit on Linton and had already paid another $800 toward a second hit. All of the money was sent to a Post Office box monitored by a Stafford detective.
Crisano still has two other trials scheduled in Stafford involving other charges related to her alleged crime spree.