Man pleads guilty to hiring hitman to kill wife
An Edmonton man pleaded guilty Thursday to trying to kill his wife by a hiring a hitman who turned out to be an undercover city police officer.
Manuel Goncalves, 52, admitted to offering $5,000 to have his estranged wife, Heather, killed in a west Edmonton hotel parking lot in February 2008.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Heather Goncalves moved out of the couple's house in November 2007, after 13 years of marriage.
About three months later, police were tipped off that Manuel Goncalves was trying to hire someone to kill her.
Investigators decided to get an Edmonton officer to go undercover and pose as a hitman. The officer, Const. Mike Wasylyshen, contacted Goncalves by phone. After several conversations, the two men met at a gas bar just north of downtown on Feb. 9, 2008.
The men then moved their meeting to a nearby hotel. According to the statement, Goncalves handed over $500 in cash and a photo of his wife to Wasylyshen. He directed the would-be hitman to bring him his wife's cell phone and eyeglasses as proof the killing was successful.
Heather Goncalves worked as a waitress at the Mayfield Inn in west Edmonton and was scheduled to be on shift that evening. As the two men drove there, they discussed Goncalves' intention to come up with an alibi, as he knew he would be a prime suspect in the murder, the court document said.
Once they arrived, Goncalves showed Wasylyshen where his wife normally parked and discussed the best getaway route to take after the killing was complete.
According to the court document, Goncalves expressed "indifference" as to how Wasylyshen was to carry out the killing. According to the plan, Wasylyshen would receive the remaining $4,500 from Goncalves once he handed over the glasses and the cellphone after he killed Heather Goncalves that night.
Instead, he was arrested shortly after Wasylyshen brought him back to his vehicle at the gas bar.
Manuel Goncalves will be back in court for sentencing hearing on April 9.
- Const. Mike Wasylyshen dropped Manuel Gonsalves off at the gas bar after the two men went to the Mayfield Inn, according to the agreed statement of facts. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Gonsalves left Wasylyshen in the hotel parking lot.Apr 20, 2010 12:10 AM MT