Trial opens in murder-for-hire case against Stephen Allwine

- Washington County opened its trial against Stephen Allwine Monday, a case with a plot stripped from the pages of a murder mystery—sex, lies, murder and a hitman for hire.

A criminal complaint from January 2017 details an unsuccessful attempt by the 44-year-old to hire a hitman to kill his wife, Amy Allwine, alleging that as the plan unraveled he personally carried out the act by shooting her and staging it as a suicide.

Prosecutors are now alleging that Allwine, a deeply religious man who served as a Deacon and church elder, had at least three affairs with women he met on the website Ashley Madison that served as the impetus to kill his wife.

Instead of divorcing her, police say the information technology worker took to the "dark web" as user DOGDAYGOD and was scammed by a now-defunct website called "Besa Mafia" that FBI officials say would regularly take Bitcoin for killings and beatings it would never carry out. Detectives later found a Bitcoin key on Allwine's phone that linked him to an attempt on his wife's life.

After losing $13,000 to the site, prosecutors say he drugged his wife and shot her in the head himself, later sending their then-eight-year-old son into their house to "discover" her body.

Allwine's defense team, however, argues that the evidence being cited is circumstantial, with a lack of fingerprints, DNA or a confession.

TIMELINE

February 14, 2016 – March 22, 2016

Investigators believe Stephen made several attempts to hire a hitman on the “Dark Web” to kill his wife using the username "dogdaygod."

FBI evidence revealed "dogdaygod" sent an email to a Dark Web website called “Besa Mafia,” where people solicit murders and assaults for hire,” to inquire about the cost of a “hit.”

In one exchange, a hitman was supposedly hired to kill Amy while she was traveling to Illinois for a dog training competition. However, Besa Mafia informed dogdaygod that their hitman followed Amy, but did not get a chance to kill her.

 Dogdaygod and Besa Mafia ultimately decided Amy would be killed at her home and the house would be burned down afterwards, but Besa Mafia continually delayed the hit. 

Investigators found several cookies for search engines used to search the Dark Web on Stephen’s phone, as well as evidence that he was making bitcoin transactions.

May 18, 2016

The user, dogdaygod, posted on another Dark Web website asking if anyone in the Minneapolis area had any Scopolomine  for sale. Scopolomine, nicknamed the “devil’s drug,” is known to erase a person’s memory, rendering them incapable of exercising their free will.

Scopolomine was found in the victim’s system at the time of her death.

July 24, 2016 – July 31, 2016

Amy received two threatening emails from an anonymous email address, blaming her for their life falling apart and their husband leaving them.

The emailer threatened to harm Amy’s family unless she committed suicide and “if you do not, then you will slowly see things taken away from you and each time you will know that you could have stopped it, which will eat you apart from the inside.”

November 13, 2016

Cottage Grove police were called to the couple’s home on the 7600 block of 110th Street South at approximately 7:00 on Nov. 13 on a report of a gunshot wound. Upon arrival, they found Stephen standing in the open garage with his son. He told police Amy was in one of the bedrooms, that he was uncertain of her injuries and that a nine millimeter firearm had been used.

Officers located Amy in the bedroom, dead from a gunshot wound to the head. A gun was found near her body. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner determined she died around 3:00 p.m.

Autopsy findings and evidence from the subsequent investigation were not consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Stephen initially told police he last saw Amy around 5:30 p.m. that night when he left to go pickup their son from her parents’ house. When they arrived home later that night, they found Amy lying in the bedroom.

Video and recordings from the couple’s home security system recordings confirmed Stephen left the residence around 5:30 p.m. and that no one entered the house through the three monitored entry points until he and the son returned home to find Amy’s body.

Police also interviewed the couple’s son, who said that earlier in the day his father had taken his mother to the clinic because she was not feeling well.

The son told police that when he found his mother later that night, he asked his father why she was sleeping on the floor, to which his father replied, “she’s probably dead,” and called 911. His father told him there was blood all over and there was a handgun.

Investigators later learned from one of Stephen’s employers, Opantix, that he did not log any activity after taking his lunch break at 12:13 p.m. on the day of the murder. Stephen’s other employer, Cigna, also verified that he did not log into work at all on Nov. 13.

Lab results also revealed Stephen had gunshot residue on his right hand on the night of the murder.

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