Contractor arrested on murder-for-hire charge

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: November 14. 2006 5:00AM PST

A Bend cement contractor is in police custody following his arrest Monday on allegations that he tried to hire two men to murder a customer after a payment dispute.

Oregon State Police detectives arrested Jonathan Fred Andrews, 44, of Bend, on Monday afternoon on charges of attempting to commit aggravated murder and solicitation to commit murder, according to a press release from OSP. Andrews was lodged in the Crook County Jail in Prineville with bail set at $200,000 and an arraignment scheduled for today, the press release said.

OSP Detective Andy McCool said Andrews is being held in the Crook County Jail because the alleged solicitation for murder took place in Crook County.

“(The alleged victim) was a homeowner in the Crook County area, and this all started over a bad business deal,” McCool said.

McCool said that Andrews said the alleged victim owed him $60,000 for work Andrews’ company, Merkin Concrete LLC, did on a house the homeowner was building in Crook County.

“What their dispute is over is that the contractor, Merkin Concrete, and the homeowner agreed upon one price, the job was never completed and Merkin Concrete wanted their money before the job was done, (but) the victim refused to pay,” McCool said.

Andrews’ family members could not be reached for comment.

The case came to police attention when a family member of one off the intended hit men contacted the authorities, McCool said. Detectives then identified another person who was also allegedly approached about committing the murder. McCool said both of these individuals are from Central Oregon, and he does not anticipate charges being filed against either of them.

Police are not releasing the names of the victim or the men allegedly approached to commit murder. OSP detectives from Bend, The Dalles and Portland have been working on this investigation for nearly two weeks, according to the press release.

McCool said Andrews was arrested at his home in Bend, where his business is also located.

Andrews is also wanted in Georgia on a probation violation warrant stemming from a previous conviction for robbery by intimidation, the press release said. McCool said Andrews could not be extradited on that warrant. He added that he does not know where Andrews is originally from or how long he has lived in Bend. According to the Oregon Judicial Information Network, Andrews does not have any prior convictions in Oregon.

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