DA: Man hired hitman to kill ex-girlfriend

A Dauphin County man arrested for the attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend is facing new allegations that he tried to hire two prison inmates to kill the woman.

Christopher Gessner, 50, was charged Wednesday with criminal solicitation to commit murder, according to District Attorney Ed Marsico.

Gessner allegedly injured his ex-girlfriend and killed her dogs when he set fire to her Lykens home in July 2011.

He is awaiting trial on charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, arson, cruelty to animals and reckless endangerment.

Marsico said Gessner contacted two inmates at Dauphin County Prison and offered them money to kill the woman.

After one of the inmates was released from prison, Marsico said the man informed authorities of the murder plot and participated in an investigation where he exchanged letters with Gessner to plan the killing.

Gessner paid $500 as a down payment to the former inmate, who then met with Gessner at the prison and showed him a photograph in which the woman appeared to be dead, Marsico said.

The woman had posed for the photo.

Marsico said further payment was to be made when Gessner received a death certificate.

Gessner admitted to his involvement in the alleged murder-for-hire when interviewed by county detectives, Marsico said.

His bail in the case was set at $100,000.

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