Accused in Pittsfield murder-for-hire scheme, ice cream man gets time served
PITTSFIELD -- An ice cream man charged in a murder-for-hire scheme was given time served on lesser charges as part of a plea deal Monday.
Recep Sarikcioglu, 29, who owns and operates an ice cream truck in Springfield, allegedly struck his estranged wife in the head with a telephone receiver in May after she tried to call police during a domestic disturbance on Hull Avenue in Pittsfield, according to police and prosecutors. After his arrest, and while a restraining order was in place, Sarikcioglu called the 27-year-old woman and told her he would give her money to drop the charges and the order.
When that didn't work, he threatened to take their son from her and told her "she will be finished," which the woman took to mean she would be killed, according to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Dana Parsons.
A month later, while in jail after having his earlier bail revoked on the restraining order violation, Sarikcioglu approached a fellow inmate about having his wife killed and having her car torched, Parson said.
The man told investigators Sarikcioglu had offered to pay him $10,000 to either cut the brakes on her car or tamper with the natural gas at her house and offered him $500 to torch the family car.
Both Sarikcioglu's wife and the police informant alleged that Sarikcioglu had told them that he has ties to both the Italian and Turkish Mafias.
When the informant attempted to get Sarikcioglu to solicit him again, this time wearing a wire, Sarikcioglu told the man he didn't want anything to happen to his wife, according to his attorney, William A. Rota.
At an earlier hearing in the case, Rota, said the woman had no physical injuries and that the informant was unreliable.
According to Rota, in a report by the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction, the inmate is described as "an enthusiastic" but "unreliable" informant whose information in past cases hadn't panned out.
On Monday in Berkshire Superior Court, Rota told the court his client wasn't admitting he had tried to hire the man to kill his wife, but did admit to soliciting the man to commit arson. Rota said there were questions on the arson related charge since Sarikcioglu gave the man a wrong description of the vehicle.
Sarikcioglu pleaded guilty to a single count of felony assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and soliciting someone to commit arson and two counts of violating a restraining order. Three counts of felony witness intimidation and a single count of misdemeanor assault and battery were dismissed at the request of the DA's Office.
Judge John A. Agostini ordered Sarikcioglu to serve 55 days of a one year sentence at the county jail and two years of probation. The rest of the sentence was suspended for two years. During that time he must have no contact with the victim and undergo a certified batterers program. He was also ordered to have no contact with his son for 18 months.
Sarikcioglu has already spent 55 days in jail awaiting the pendency of the case. The sentence followed the recommendation of the DA's Office. Rota had asked that his client not be ordered to attend the batterers program.
The charge of solicitation to commit murder was filed without a change of plea for two years. If Sarikcioglu violates the conditions of the probation the prosecution could reinstate the charge in addition to sentencing him on the rest or his suspended sentence. If he stays out of trouble the solicitation charge will be go away.
Rota said that his client had no previous criminal record and that the time he spent in jail was "a very sobering experience for him."
Sarikcioglu is an American citizen whose family is Turkish. He now resides in Connecticut, according to Rota.
The investigations were conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department and state police detectives assigned to the District Attorney's Office.
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