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Behind the Casefiles: Amy Allwine

I have been writing episodes of the excellent true-crime podcast Casefile and as I’ve been rather slack in updating this blog lately, I thought I would write up a little about each case I contribute to the show. These posts will explain how and why I choose each case and the research that goes into writing the stories.

The first one I wrote was Case 86 – the murder of Amy Allwine

Best to listen to it before reading on, as there will be spoilers below and it may not make much sense if you don’t know the story.

I first heard of Amy Allwine before she was murdered. Her name came up as one of the targets in the original hack of the Besa Mafia dark web murder-for-hire site. I wrote briefly about the hit ordered on Amy in my first blog about Besa Mafia on 14 May 2016:

One of the worst hit was the lady who wanted a hit carried out on a woman who “tore my family apart by sleeping with my husband (who then left me) and is stealing clients from my business”, and wanted it to look like an accident. Over two months, she transferred an initial 15 bitcoin, then another 10, then another 4 bitcoin (the transactions are visible on the blockchain), as BesaAdmin dished up excuses for the failure of the murder to take place. Besa was still working on her at the time of the hack. They had relieved her of approximately $13,000.

A couple of weeks later, on 31 May 2016, the FBI visited Amy Allwine to tell her that her name was on a hit-list and that somebody had paid around $13,000 in bitcoin to have her killed. However, Amy could not think of anyone who would want her dead, and the FBI could find no suspects. Amy was murdered on 13 November 2016 and her husband, Stephen was arrested in January 2017. He had pretended to be a disgruntled colleague of Amy’s when writing to the hitman.

I was researching The Darkest Web at the time, and was in regular contact with Yura, the owner of Besa Mafia, who was as shocked as anyone that one of the targets on his site had turned up dead. A large part of The Darkest Web is about dark web murder-for-hire sites and my complicated relationship with Yura, but the murder of Amy came as a shock. I travelled to Cottage Grove, Minnesota, to interview people who knew Amy and the local police, and later to attend the trial of Stephen Allwine.

Obviously the dark web aspect appealed to me, but during the trial I was also struck by the presence and role of the Allwines’ religion, the United Church of God. The local pastor attended the trial and would counsel family members and lead prayer during breaks. Stephen Allwine’s motive for murdering his wife was that he wanted out of marriage, but the strictly fundamentalist religion would expel him if he filed for divorce. Stephen was a lay preacher and that role seemed to be the most important thing in his life, even though he secretly breached the church’s rules by having extramarital affairs and was willing to kill to keep up appearances.

The UCG have gone out of their way to erase Stephen Allwine from the church’s online presence, removing photos, mentions and his sermons from the archives so they can’t even be accessed via the Wayback Machine.

The Darkest Web and the Casefile episode approach the story of Amy Allwine in very different ways, with the book concentrating more on Stephen’s interactions on the dark web and the podcast telling the more straightforward story of a most unusual murder. In both I have left out certain aspects of the story that are inappropriate for now, but may come out one day.

You don’t need to be doing anything illegal to still make it smart to use a VPN. I use IPVanish

3 Responses

  1. Yes, most of these hitmen sites are fake.

    Maybe all hitmen sites are fake!


    The most important thing is that these fake hitmen sites save lives. Without fake hitmen sites, would-be murderers would kill the hated ones by themselves.

    To avoid being caught, these would-be murderers first search for other people to do the killing for them. They search online for hitmen.

    When they find hitmen sites, they get stalled and scammed. And target information is sent to Police. Lots of customers are arrested

    Without those arrests and without the hitmen sites the customers would have killed the targets themselves

    Fake hitmen sites tell and suggest to customers this: don’t kill anyone yourself! Tell us who is the target and let us see if we can do this. But they don’t.

    By doing this, they provide the first very important aid in helping save the to-be-murdered person. They stall the would-be murderer and buy time for the victim.

    Without fake hitmen sites, lots of people who decided they want someone dead, could just go and do the killing themselves without telling anyone.

    But when they came across a fake hitman website, they are stalled. They are scammed. They lose time. They get discouraged. When someone tries and fails, he is tempted to give up. Very few have the will to continue. Most hitmen sites send target information to the police. Police figures out who might have wanted that person dead and arrest the customer.

    There have been hundreds of cases of people being arrested and condemned for placing orders on fake hitmen sites. The victims have been saved!

    Without the fake hitmen sites, these people would have had the chance to do the murder on their own, and victims could have died

    Fake hitmen sites have saved lots of lives!

    Customers that get scammed of their money and lose their time are discouraged and tempted to give up. Very few choose to continue to try.

    When a person tries, tries, tries, and fails, he gets discouraged. Only those with an extraordinary will, continue to search for other means and ways to kill the target.

    Most people who want something, and fail over and over again, give up. This is why fake hitmen sites stop murders by scamming customers, they feel like they failed, they try on different fake hitmen sites, they get scammed again, they fail again, and then they either get arrested by police or they feel too discouraged to try again to do the murder.

    Very few of these customers are so determined that they do the killing themselves. They feel nothing could stop them. Not fake hitmen sites, not police, not even the risk of being caught and sentenced to a long time in jail

    This was the case with Stephen Allwine. Articles presenting his story said that he was scammed by fake hitmen sites, then tried other means like buying scopolamine from the darknet but failed again, Police told him and his wife someone wants her dead so they are watching to protect her, but not even that stopped him

    He was one determined guy to kill his wife. He tried everything and would not give up.
    Lots of other cases of people ordering murders online have been reported in the news as customers being arrested and the lives of targets saved.

    Fake hitmen sites stop would-be murderers. 90% or more of the cases get stopped by police as customers are arrested. The remaining are discouraged by their continuously failing, and give up the killing. Only less than %1 continue with their murder, despite all means to stop them

    Without the fake hitmen sites, maybe lots more of these cases would end up with would-be murderers doing the killing themselves

  2. There is a terrible condition called “intrusive thoughts of harm” , who is life threateningly distressing for innocent people who experience this .

    The standard management of this is ERP. Read about it

    I believe many of the people prosecuted for accessing these “fake hitman sites” were mentally unwell trying to safely rid themselves of terrible thoughts and have been nearly killed as a result.

    Is this justice?

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