A federal judge yesterday rejected a plea for compassionate release for a man serving a ten-year sentence for hiring a hit man to kill his wife and for trying to hire another hit man to kill the state trooper who turned out to be working undercover as the first hit man and the friend who introduced the trooper to him.
US District Court Judge Patti Saris ruled that Andrew Gordon's ex-wife remains terrified of him and that he was convicted of a serious enough offense that it would be too dangerous to let him out four years early.
The US Attorney's office had other arguments for keeping Gordon, formerly of Chelmsford, locked up: While it is true he was diagnosed with Covid-19 on June 2, prosecutors said, he has shown no symptoms. Although he went to prison doctors complaining of a "productive cough" and chest congestion, the doctors found no evidence of any lung issues, or any other actual symptoms of the virus. And his form of leukemia is a chronic, rather than an acute, form, prosecutors told Saris.
Gordon was convicted in 2015 of trying to hire somebody to kill his wife because he figured that would be cheaper than a divorce. Unfortunately for him, the alleged hit man a friend introduced him to turned out to be a state trooper working undercover. Following his arrest, Gordon then tried to get people he was locked up with to recommend a new hit man to kill the trooper and the friend. Both are still alive; Gordon's conversations, picked up by federal agents brought into the case, were used as evidence against him.
Gordon was initially sentenced to 20 years in prison on five counts of using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire; the sentence was reduced to 10 after he successfully argued that he shouldn't have been facing as many as five counts for the same crime.
The US Attorney's office used his allegedly fake cough as part of its argument not to release him from a federal prison in North Carolina:
The defendant apparently thinks that he can trick this Court into granting the extraordinary remedy of reducing his sentence by malingering and placing the medical professionals who examined him at unnecessary risk of infection. Indeed, his conduct demonstrates that he continues to resort to lying, deception and treating others with a callous disregard to their safety in order to achieve his desired result. Finally, as the Court is aware, FCI Butner is a medical facility and fully capable of providing the defendant with the medical care he needs to combat COVID should he require treatment. ...
Given the conduct that landed the defendant in federal prison, it should not surprise this Court that he continues to engage in deception to get exactly what Andrew Gordon wants. This is a man, after all, who tried to hire a hit man to kill a State Trooper and an elderly man in order to secure his release from state custody after trying to hire a hit man to kill his wife. The United States urges the Court to see through this conduct, and deny the defendant’s motion.
Since March, federal judges in Boston have received numerous Covid-19-related requests from prisoners for early release or from people awaiting trial behind bars to be released without bail. Judges have agreed to the requests only where the petitioners have both serious underlying medical conditions that would put them at extra risk of complications if they contracted Covid-19 and they do not pose what the judges consider a flight risk or a potential menace to society.