Ponca City woman charged in international murder-for-hire case

Team Radio Marketing Group - July 3, 2017 3:22 pm

In a criminal complaint filed Saturday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Ponca City resident Danielle Dana Layman, also known as Samantha Dowry, Danielle Givati and Dana Abecassis, was charged in a murder-for-hire plan involving foreign commerce, a federal offense.

The case document includes an affidavit by David M. Otwell, the Task Force Officer for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The complaint was signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles B. Goodwin.

In the affidavit, Otwell said a tip was phoned to the FBI Public Access Line on May 9, 2017, by a person who reported being hired to murder an individual in Tel Aviv, Israel, using ricin. The tipster said Samantha Dowry had placed an ad on Craigslist in Ponca City and had provided the tipster with ricin.

The ad had been placed May 3, 2017, advertising a “10 day gig overseas for amateur, competitive pay!”

The person who reported this information to the FBI contacted Samantha Dowry on Craigslist Messenger and by text message to discuss the post. The two met at The Perk Beverage Co. at 415 North 14th on May 9, the affidavit states.

Later, this person provided text messages to the FBI corroborating those comments.

At their meeting at the coffee house, Dowry said she wanted the person to poison someone with ricin and showed a PowerPoint presentation on a laptop computer, laying out the plan, where the person would stay and how to get there.

Dowry said she wanted the person to use ricin on an individual with the last name Qasis in Tel Aviv, Israel. Dowry said this was a taxi driver and provided a packet with codes and instructions on what the person would need and the names of others involved with the endeavor.

Several instructions were written about how the witness was to prepare for the mission, what to pack, with whom to communicate and where to stay in Israel.

She offered the witness $1,000 for expenses for the trip.

The tipster was told to hire Qasis, also known as Canyon Ashdod, to provide taxi service for a week to tourist attractions. The witness was instructed to prepare two cups of coffee, add the ricin powder to one cup, and offer it to Ashdod each morning. If he became hospitalized or eliminated, the witness was instructed to move to a different hotel until returning to the United States.

At that point, Dowry was to pay the witness $4,000 in cash.

Ricin is a poison naturally found in castor beans. If ingested, inhaled or injected, it can be fatal, Otwell wrote in the affidavit.

The witness took photographs of the items Dowry presented at the coffee house meeting, which include two pieces of paper that contained codes and instructions, the bag containing the glass vials, and the baggie containing ricin. The witness then contacted an attorney and detailed the plan. The attorney advised the witness to stop and call the FBI immediately.

When the witness returned home, a roommate was told about the plan and shown the papers and other items. The roommate disposed of the items in a trash dumpster in an apartment complex in Oklahoma City.

FBI agents showed the witness a photograph of Danielle Dana Layman, who was identified as the same person who called herself Samanath Dowry.

Otwell’s affidavit states Danielle Dana Layman, also known as Danielle Givati, has a non-immigrant visa and is listed as an Israeli national and a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Otwell wrote that Layman claims to be a former Director of Nursing for the Ministry of Labor in Israel.

Searches of data bases by the FBI showed Layman and the taxi driver known as Abecassis had been in a legal battle over visitation rights with their then 13-year-old daughter.

The two were divorced in 2003 and Layman later married an American soldier, Jeremy Layman, in 2010. In 2014, while her husband was on a deployment, Layman took her children on an extended visit to Israel to visit family.

Abecassis found out the family was in Israel and filed a lawsuit with the Ashdod Region Rabbinical Courts demanding visitation rights with his daughter. The daughter was prevented from leaving Israel for an undetermined time, but has since returned to the U.S.

In September of 2014, Layman had set up a GoFundMe page while she and her husband Jeremy Layman were living in Scammon, Kansas. The campaign sought donations to help fund a legal battle with the Israeli government to have the daughter returned to her mother and Jeremy Layman, who had adopted her.

Federal agents executed a search warrant in Ponca City at the Layman residence on Friday, June 30.

In that search agents found several dozen castor beans in the kitchen, along with a mortar and pestle with residue. There were also instructions on how to make ricin on the counter, apparently printed from the internet.

Otwell said that Danielle Layman made phone calls to her husband in his presence to let him know federal agents had executed the search warrant. She informed her husband the agents were searching for the castor beans, which could be turned into ricin, and she knew how to do that.


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