|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Pennsylvania woman was arrested last night on charges that she attempted to hire a hit man to kill her daughter’s ex-boyfriend in New Jersey and two other people close to him. The New Jersey State Police foiled the murder-for-hire plot, which the woman allegedly planned as an act of revenge because she claimed that the boyfriend was abusive and caused her daughter to have a miscarriage years ago when she was pregnant with twins.
Denise Marie Nagrodski, 52, of Easton, Pa., was arrested about 7:30 p.m. on Route 22 in New Jersey as she drove away from the Phillipsburg Mall, where she met with an undercover detective of the State Police Violent Organized Crime Control South Bureau, who she allegedly believed would carry out the murders. She allegedly delivered photos of the intended victims, drew him a map to the house where all of the victims live in Bound Brook, N.J., and paid the detective $500, which allegedly was the balance of the $1,000 she agreed to pay him. She paid him $500 at a prior meeting at the mall on Nov. 21. Both meetings were secretly recorded. Nagrodski is in the Warren County Jail with bail set at $2 million, cash only. The New Jersey State Police Counter Terrorism Bureau was assisted in the investigation by the New York City Police Department Intelligence Division and the Pennsylvania State Police. The Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau also assisted and will prosecute the case.
NYPD Intelligence alerted the New Jersey State Police in October that Nagrodski wanted to hire a hit man. The State Police detective posed as the hit man, and on Nov. 21, Nagrodski met him at the mall and allegedly outlined her plot. She allegedly asked him to kill not only her daughter’s ex-boyfriend, but also his sister and the sister’s boyfriend. She allegedly asked that the sister and her boyfriend each be shot twice in the forehead: “one for each twin.” Ultimately, she allegedly agreed that he would “bash in” the heads of those two victims instead and set their house on fire, because she could not provide him with a gun. Regarding the daughter’s ex-boyfriend, she allegedly told the detective to “burn him alive” and make sure he knew she was responsible. Before she left the detective’s car after the first meeting, he said, “Once you step out of the car, this is on.” She allegedly replied, “I need it done.”
“Nagrodski thought she had taken every step necessary to translate her personal vendetta into murder, plotting horrific violence against not only her daughter’s ex-boyfriend, but also two of the people closest to him,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “Fortunately, the New Jersey State Police worked swiftly and expertly to expose her plot and prevent anyone from being killed.”
“Our undercover detective posed as a hit man and interrupted the gruesome plot to murder and burn three people. Working with the NYPD and the Pennsylvania State Police, we were able to stop another murder for hire,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
“Nagrodski didn’t have a lot of money, but she certainly had a lot of determination to take revenge on the man she believed had taken her grandchildren from her,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “The State Police disarmed an explosive situation and probably prevented multiple deaths. We will prosecute her for all three alleged attempted murders.”
Nagrodski was charged with three counts of first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, three counts of first-degree attempted murder, one count of second-degree conspiracy to commit aggravated arson, and one count of fourth-degree attempt to tamper with or fabricate physical evidence.
The investigation was led by Detective Gerard Tibbs of the New Jersey State Police Counter Terrorism Bureau. The case is assigned for prosecution to Deputy Attorneys General Michael A. Klein and Brandy Malfitano of the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General Annmarie Taggart, who is Deputy Bureau Chief, and Deputy Attorney General Lauren Scarpa Yfantis, who is Bureau Chief.
Each of the first-degree charges carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison, including a mandatory period of parole ineligibility equal to 85 percent of the sentence imposed. The defendant would face potential consecutive sentences because there are multiple victims. The first-degree charges also carry a criminal fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while fourth-degree crimes carry a sentence of up to 18 months in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Because they are indictable offenses, they will be presented to a state grand jury for potential indictment.