Soldier arrested for arranging murder of a mother and her children

Sgt. Jeremiah Peikert (left) and his brother Josh (middle) are accused of planning the murder of unnamed victims that match the description of Josh's ex-wife and children (right). Sources: Connecticut State Police/Facebook

A soldier in Texas was arrested after an investigation by Groton Police and Connecticut State Police discovered his involvement in a murder-for-hire plot.

Sgt. Jeremiah Peikert, stationed at Fort Cavazos, Texas, was taken into custody on May 2 and charged for allegedly paying an incarcerated man to hire a hitman to murder a woman and her children.

According to court documents, in 2022, Peikert’s brother, Josh was incarcerated in Connecticut and asked his cellmate to find a hitman.

The cellmate agreed and said it would cost a $500 finder’s fee and $10,000 per person.

He claimed he never planned on following through with the plan but did accept half of the finder’s fee payment upfront.

“At no time did I have any intention of hiring a hitman or committing any violence,” the inmate later told police.

After Peikert’s brother was bailed out of jail, they communicated about the plan over the phone and used code words such as “construction job” and “materials.”

Roughly two weeks after being bailed out of jail, Josh was back in jail again and the two communicated in the rec area, according to the court documents.

Josh pushed his former cellmate for answers to why the “hits” had not been completed yet.

The former cellmate, referred to as Witness #1 by the court, claims he played dumb and “blew smoke up his ass.”

He claimed the hit was out on the 29-year-old mother, her 10-year-old and 1-year-old daughters.

Eventually, he was transferred to a higher security level prison and claimed he was warned that Josh had put a hit out on him when he arrived.

While speaking with Groton City Police detective, he provided a handwritten letter from Josh that detailed the mother’s home, where she and her children slept, and even the location of a spare key to the home.

The detective was able to corroborate the home information and find the jail transaction records that showed Sgt. Jeremiah Peikert’s payment to him.

After a search warrant was approved for their phone conversations, they found Sgt. Peikert’s apartment -right outside of Fort Cavazos, Texas- was listed as the address assigned to the phone.

In December of last year, two investigators flew to Texas and interviewed Sgt. Peikert with an Army Criminal Investigation Division special agent.

He admitted to knowing of the plot but claimed he did not know the children were involved.

“I did not believe the kids were planned to be involved in this scheme,” he said. “I initially did not want any involvement in this plan, and I reluctantly transferred the money.”

He stated his brother had violent tendencies growing up and was very manipulative.

“He did mention not wanting the mother or the kids in his life anymore and didn’t want to see them,” he said.

While the court documents kept the identities of the victims anonymous, a search of Josh’s social media shows he finalized his divorce around the time the plot was planned and his ex-wife and children match their descriptions in the documents.

When investigators attempted to interview Josh at the prison, he declined to speak without an attorney.

After being counseled by his attorney, Peter Bartinick, he continued to remain silent and was arrested.

He is being held on a 500,000 bond for Conspiracy to Commit Murder and Conspiracy to Commit Rish of Injury to Minors.

Sgt. Peikert was arrested in Texas and escorted to Connecticut by an airline. He is being held on a 500,000 bond for two counts of Conspiracy Toward Commision of a Crime.

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