TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Gretchen Buselli (a/k/a “Gretchen Yarbrough”), 48, of Tallahassee, Florida, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for use of an interstate commerce facility in the commission of murder-for-hire and making a false statement to a federal officer. The sentence was announced by Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
“This sentence not only punishes the malevolence of the defendant but should serve as a significant deterrent to those inclined to initiate violence,” stated U.S. Attorney Jason R. Coody. “Despite calculation and concealment, the defendant’s murderous plot was averted due to the exceptional work of a citizen and our law enforcement partners. They are to be commended.”
Evidence introduced during the trial revealed between on or about June 17, 2021, and on or about September 16, 2021, Buselli used the U.S. mail as well as a facility of interstate commerce, a cellular phone, with the intent that a murder be committed in violation of the laws of the State of Florida. Testimony revealed that Buselli communicated with an acquaintance via the U.S. mail, telephone calls, text, and an encrypted mobile application to solicit the murder of her estranged husband. The acquaintance reported Buselli’s request to law enforcement, who then engaged an undercover agent to further the investigation. Buselli communicated her desire to have her estranged husband killed to the undercover agent, providing a description of the intended victim, his whereabouts, and his routines. In subsequent conversations with the undercover agent, Buselli negotiated the price for committing the murder and discussed the manner in which the act would take place, acknowledging that she would be interviewed by law enforcement thereafter. Buselli was later surveilled depositing the agreed upon $5,000 in U.S. currency at the amphitheater in Cascades Park. Following her delivery of the payment, agents observed Buselli dispose of the clothing she had worn during delivery of the payment. After being notified by the undercover agent that her estranged husband had been killed, she was approached and then questioned by law enforcement, Buselli made multiple false statements denying her awareness of nor involvement in the plot and her desire to have her estranged husband killed.
“This case demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to investigate with a sense of urgency in order to prevent violent crime in our communities,” said FBI Jacksonville Special Agent in Charge Sherri E. Onks. “I am extremely proud of the collaborative effort by the FBI, Tallahassee Police Department, and the United States Postal Inspection Service to ensure a life was protected and a defendant was brought to justice.”
“The Tallahassee Police Department is proud to see the judicial system prevail in this case,” said police Chief Lawrence Revell. “Our Detectives worked tirelessly to investigate this case and collect the evidence needed for an arrest and subsequent conviction. This verdict and the collaborative efforts of our law enforcement and judicial partners sends a message to the community that those who commit or attempt to commit crimes will be held accountable and we will do everything we can to bring justice to the victims involved.”
Buselli’s prison sentence will be followed by 3 years of supervised release. The Court ordered forfeiture of the currency paid by the defendant to facilitate the murder. In addition, the court ordered the gold coins provided by the defendant to be placed in an independent trust for the benefit of the couple’s daughter.
This conviction was the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tallahassee Police Department, and the Montana United States Postal Inspection Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Eric K. Mountin and Kaitlin Weiss.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.