SHELBYVILLE, Ind.–A man from Shelbyville was sentenced Friday to more than four decades in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of murder for hire, witness tampering, and distributing child sexual abuse material.
Police say Robert Mason Elliott, 28, met a girl and hurt her in 2017 when she was 16 years old. He was later charged with domestic battery. Elliott was prohibited from seeing the girl, but then he tried to bring her heroin. That led to him being charged with dealing narcotics. Police later discovered that he had sex abuse material of the girl through Facebook.
While in jail on those charges, Elliott called his mother and told her to hire a member of the Hells Angels motorcycle club to kill or severely hurt the girl so she couldn’t testify against him. Elliott’s mother hired the member of Hells Angels and paid him $500, but police intercepted the calls and text messages between the two.
After that, investigators say he tried to hire inmates in the Shelby County Jail to kill the girl, her mother, and another person. Instead, the inmates told police, which foiled the murder-for-hire plot.
“This defendant’s abuse of a minor victim was beyond despicable. He physically and sexually assaulted her, sought to provide her with dangerous narcotics, and had no qualms about killing the minor victim and others in a desperate and twisted attempt to get away with it,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton.
In May 2019, Elliott was indicted in federal court for child exploitation and illegal firearm possession. While in prison on those charges, Elliott got the phone number of a “cartel hitman.” He wanted the hitman to kill the girl and her mother.
Investigators say he offered the “hitman” heavy duty equipment, a motorcycle, and military-grade weapons, including shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapons and M203 grenade launchers for the murders. Elliott conspired with his grandfather to provide the items to the “hitman” — who was actually an undercover federal agent.
Federal agents raided Elliott’s grandfather’s home and recovered a motorcycle and at least 20 guns, including several assault rifles, and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
“One of the firearms was illegally purchased for Elliott by another individual, who agreed to falsify federal firearms purchasing forms and provide Elliott with the gun in exchange for a meal at Olive Garden,” said a release from the Department of Justice.
In June 2022, Elliott pleaded guilty to two counts of murder for hire, two counts of witness tampering, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Elliott further said in a plea agreement that he had produced and distributed child sex abuse material.
“The defendant’s heinous, violent crimes demonstrate an utter disrespect for the law or the value of human life. His physical abuse and sexual exploitation of a child were compounded by his relentless attempts to have the victim and her mother murdered. Only a lengthy federal prison term like the one imposed today will ensure that the victims and the public are protected from this dangerous criminal. I commend the outstanding efforts of our prosecutors, the FBI, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, and the Shelby County Prosecutor’s Office to stand up for victims and hold violent abusers accountable,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
Elliott was sentenced to 520 months in prison.
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