HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — A former Mississippi sheriff’s deputy faces extradition to the Netherlands, where he is accused of taking part in a murder-for-hire plot in 2019.
Dutch authorities say William Lyle Johnson, who is jailed in Mississippi, could face life in prison on charges of murder, assault, kidnapping and other related crimes.
The Hattiesburg American reports that Johnson, 34, was a sheriff’s deputy in Forrest County from May 2017 to April 2019.
Dutch officials say Swiss businessman Lukas Fecker hired American Justin Causey to threaten Thomas Schwarz with harm if he did not pay Fecker money he said Schwarz owed him.
Causey used a different set of Americans to track Schwarz, officials say. On at least one occasion that October, Schwarz told neighbors and colleagues he was threatened by some men who came to his house demanding money.
After that visit, officials say Causey hired Johnson and Jacob Mazeika of Colorado to help complete the extortion. The two flew to Germany, with officials saying they met Causey on Nov. 25, 2019, the day before Schwarz was killed.
The next morning, Johnson told federal officials that he drove Causey and Mazeika to Schwarz’s home but said only the other two men entered. Twenty minutes later, Johnson said the men returned to the car with bloody clothing. Johnson said he was paid $10,000.
Johnson and Mazeika returned to the U.S. the next day. Causey returned some time later. The Hattiesburg American reports the three are in federal custody awaiting extradition hearings. Fecker is in the Netherlands awaiting trial.