Woman Who Planned Catfish Murder-For-Hire Receives 99 Years in Prison

(NewsReady.com) – An Alaskan woman has been jailed after organizing a contract killing in the hopes of making $9 million. Denali Dakota Skye Brehmer hired four men to shoot her disabled friend, after discussing a murder with a man she’d met online. Although she didn’t commit the crime herself, prosecutors said it wouldn’t have happened without her.

In 2019, Brehmer, who was just 18 at the time, met a man online who gave his name as Tyler and claimed to be a millionaire from Kansas. He offered her at least $9 million if she would kill someone in Alaska and send her photos and videos of the crime. Brehmer agreed; she recruited four men to help her — Caleb Leyland, Kayden McIntosh, and two unnamed juveniles — and the group chose Brehmer’s best friend Cynthia Hoffman as the victim. On June 2, 2019, Brehmer and McIntosh took Hoffman, who was 19 and suffered from developmental difficulties, for a hike to Thunderbird Falls. Along the way, they bound her with duct tape, making it difficult for her to struggle. McIntosh shot her in the back of the head while Brehmer filmed the crime. They then dumped her body in the river.

Of course, Brehmer never got her $9 million; “Tyler” turned out to be 25-year-old Darin Schilmiller of New Salisbury, Indiana, and he wasn’t a millionaire. In fact, he had been “catfishing” Brehmer, making up a false identity online with the hopes of drawing her in. In January, Schilmiller was sentenced to 99 years in prison for his role in Hoffman’s murder, and also faces charges over child pornography he persuaded Brehmer to obtain for him.

On February 12, Brehmer was sentenced for her part in the crime. She asked for 80 years with 20 years suspended, but Judge Andrew Peterson gave her 99 years. Leyland pleaded guilty to murder last November and will be sentenced in June; McIntosh is still awaiting trial on murder charges.

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