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Oregon woman accused of murder-for-hire plot

PORTLAND — An Oregon woman hired a felon to kill her ex-husband in Utah, but the scheme unraveled when the would-be assailant opted to warn the man, the FBI says.

A U.S. criminal complaint filed last week says Pamela Jean Gygi, 57, of Westlake has been charged with interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire. She was being held Tuesday at the Lane County Jail in Eugene.

FBI Special Agent Timothy Suttles said in an affidavit that the woman's ex-husband, Dean Hamill, went to police in Saratoga Springs, Utah, on June 1 to report he had been visited by a man who said he had been hired by Gygi to kill him.

The hit man — identified in court papers as CW, for cooperating witness — told Suttles during a June 11 interview in Eugene that Gygi had paid him $600 to kill Hamill, and promised a residence in California, the title to a 2005 Dodge Stratus and Hamill's online business.

Hamill's LinkedIn page identifies him as the president of BreedersClub.net, a dog and cat breeding website also mentioned in divorce paperwork.

"CW told Hamill of the plot and that CW had no intention of killing Hamill," Suttles wrote. "CW told me that he risked violating parole by going out of state because CW felt a need to warn Hamill face-to-face."

As for a possible motive, the affidavit states that Gygi and Hamill divorced in December.

"As part of the divorce decree, Hamill was ordered to take out a life insurance policy with a value of $100,000 naming Gygi as the sole beneficiary," Suttles wrote.

The couple were ordered to sell and evenly divide their real property. A June 30 arbitration hearing was scheduled regarding their personal property, and that appeared to be a key date in the alleged plot.

According to the affidavit, here's what happened next:

Equipped with an audio recorder, CW met Gygi in Westlake on June 25 and the two discussed tampering with Hamill's vehicle to make the death seem like an accident.

CW told investigators he received a call from Gygi five days later in which she asked: "Why am I in arbitration?"

Later that day, CW called Gygi and asked if she still wanted to go through with the plan, given that arbitration was done. She wanted to continue.

CW wore a recording device when the two met the following day and decided that meddling with the vehicle might not be a good idea. CW said Hamill might only be injured; Gygi expressed concern that her son could be in the vehicle. Gygi said she would get an untraceable gun.

During a recorded phone call July 7, Gygi told CW she would give him the gun and the Dodge Stratus he would use to drive to Utah.

The two, in another recorded call, arranged to meet July 10 at a mall east of Eugene. Police arrested Gygi that day.

Gygi's federal public defender, Bryan Lessley, is unavailable for comment all week, according to a receptionist.

Gygi's next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 24.