Michael Gardner, 50, a former Falls Church, Virginia, Democratic Party official, was sentenced to prison in 2011 for molesting two young girls, ages 9 and 10, during a slumber party for his daughter’s 10th birthday.
Gardner was sentenced to 22 years. However, his conviction was overturned by the Virginia Supreme Court, which said the trial judge improperly stopped Gardner’s defense attorney from asking character witnesses about Gardner, according to the Washington Post. He was granted a new trial which is set to begin March 4.
Court papers released Wednesday allege that while in prison, Gardner told a fellow inmate that he wanted to have the girls murdered before they had the opportunity to testify against him, according to WJLA News.
The fellow inmate claims he was approached by Gardner to hire a hit man. A letter from the inmate was released in court documents last week and stated:
"I want you to know I haven't forgotten what we've discussed. The friend you asked me to contact to see if he could help with the 'three problems' you have pre-trial will be passing through VA on a FL to NY 'run.'"
Court documents reveal that during a polygraph test, the inmate said Gardner had also considered the two prosecutors and a detective as potential murder victims, the Washington Post reports.
A family friend of the victims' families, Ana Down told WUSA 9 News, "They're being terrorized over and over and over again and now, with these new allegations, it's beyond belief."
Virginia State Police have launched an investigation against Gardner and prosecutors insist they are taking the murder allegations seriously. They intend to introduce the evidence at Gardner’s new trial.
"We asked the Virginia State Police to investigating [sic] as we said because one of the things the informer told us [sic] that Mr. Gardner had made some death threats against the witnesses in the trial against him as, potentially myself, and the other prosecutors and potentially one of the detectives," Nicole Wittmann, the special prosecutor stated, according to WUSA 9 News.