Justin Bieber accepts the award for favorite male artist at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles.(Photo: John Shearer, AP)
Michael Winter, USA TODAY
7:32PM EST December 12. 2012 - Two New Mexico men arrested in a murder-for-hire plot were planning to strangle and castrate pop star Justin Bieber and his bodyguard, according to KRQE-TV.
Mark Staake, 41, and his 23-year-old nephew Tanner Ruane were arrested late last month in Vermont. They were accused of plotting to kidnap and kill four people on behalf of Dana Martin, who is serving two life sentences for the 2000 rape and murder of a Vermont girl in 200. Staake met Martin in Las Cruces state prison.
Tuesday, KRQE, citing investigators, said the Canadian performer and his bodyguard were two of the targets.
Investigators told the station Staake and Ruane allegedly planned to first travel from New Mexico to Vermont and kill two witnesses to Martin's crime, then hit Bieber.
The plot allegedly was planned for when Bieber performed sold-out concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Nov. 27 and 28. Police said the 45-year-old Martin was obsessed with Bieber and has a tattoo of him on one of his legs.
Police said Martin directed the would-be hit men to strangle Bieber and the others with a paisley tie, Martin's "calling card," KRQE said. But he apparently changed his mind and ratted out Staake and Ruane before they could act.
Staake was arrested in Vermont on outstanding warrants, but police let Ruane go. Police recorded phone calls Ruane made to Martin from New York, telling him "disappointed he couldn't carry out the murders," KRQE writes.
New York police arrested Ruane, who had pruning shears and what the CBS affiliate describes as "murder tools."