According to Chief Ronald Dies, Eunice Police were alerted to the situation when they were informed that Charles Keith Runnels, 53, 910 Sittig Rd., was attempting to hire a hit man to kill two men who are brothers.
According to Dies, the alleged “hit” was retaliatory; Dies said Runnels believed the men were responsible for “snitching” on him, regarding narcotics charges that Dies said are pending.
Eunice detectives conducted an undercover operation using a Lafayette Police Officer to play the role of a “hitman”.
Detectives had an intermediary contact Runnels and arrange for a hit man and a good-faith deposit for the killings; Runnels allegedly paid this intermediary several hundred dollars and arranged to meet with the hit man at his residence.
Police say the Lafayette officer posing as the hit man met with Runnels, while a hidden camera was used to record the proceedings.
Runnels allegedly gave the undercover cop the names and addresses of the men he wanted killed, expressing concerns about other persons who lived at the residence.
According to police, Runnels did not want the brothers’ parents harmed, but he wanted the two men dead.
He is alleged to have stated later that he didn’t care if the “hit man” tortured the men as long as he killed them in the end.
Police say that Runnels agreed to pay the undercover cop $5,000 each for the two murders. Runnels allegedly told the officer that he didn’t have the money but had arranged to borrow it from a friend.
Following the meeting, police moved in and arrested Runnels and brought him to the Eunice Police Department, where he reportedly confessed to the attempt.
Runnels was booked and charged with two counts of solicitation for murder.
Dies noted that Runnels is currently on probation for a third offense Driving While Intoxicated and was wearing an ankle bracelet monitored by the St. Landry Sheriff’s Office.
Runnels is currently being held without bond and Louisiana Probation and Parole has indicated they would be sending a detainer for Runnels, Dies added.
Dies stated that additional charges are pending.