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When you work for a construction company with a name like "Hired Gun Home Improvements," it's common to hear jokes about people hiring workers as hit men.
But Christian Olsen said one women took it further she gave him $5,000 to hire someone to kill her ex-husband, with a promise of a chunk of her ex's life insurance policy, once he was dead.
Linda Tracy Gillman, 69, was charged in January in 3rd District Court with two counts of first-degree felony criminal solicitation for allegedly trying to hire Olsen to kill her ex-husband and his new wife.
A judge ruled Wednesday there was probable cause for the case to move forward to trial, according to court records, and Gillman pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Over three separate days of a preliminary hearing, Olsen testified that he began working at Gillman's condominium last year and they became friends. They talked for hours about their lives, their faith and work that needed to be done on her property.
But there were times during the last few months of 2016 when their conversations centered around a plot to get rid of Gillman's ex-husband, Olsen testified.
"I was a little caught off-guard by the whole situation," he recalled. "I humored it, to be honest but not to the point of trying to whack someone."
Olsen testified that he thought at first the woman was joking. But he realized she was serious after she handed him a check for $5,000.
He promised he could find her a hit man, Olsen testified, and took the check. He told the court he needed the money, but never had any intention of killing anyone.
Olsen testified that he hoped Gillman would drop the idea, but she kept pushing. Her plan to kill her ex-husband, Olsen said, also evolved to including the death of the ex-husband's new wife for an additional cost.
But Gillman was also careful, Olsen said. Anytime they discussed the plan in writing or text messaging, they used code words: A "sub" was the subcontractor Olsen was to hire for the murders. A text about "Home Depot" meant the plan was good to go a mention of "Lowe's" meant there was a problem and the killing was off.
Olsen testified that he continued to string Gillman along, but once she mentioned hiring someone else to do the job, he went to Gillman's ex-husband's house and told the new wife about the plot to have them killed.
After a police investigation was opened, Olsen said he agreed to wear a recording device and ask Gillman about the plan. The recordings were played in court during a March hearing, and Gillman can be heard talking through the plan and reasoning why her ex's new wife should also die.
As the recordings played in court, Olsen shook his head from side to side while on the stand, seemingly in disbelief, and smirked.
"Even if you take him out," Gillman says in the recording, "if you screw up and there's an investigation if you screw up in any way there's not going to be a payout. That is the law."
During cross-examination, defense attorney Ron Yengich questioned Olsen's credibility, pointing out that he had a history of drug use and had been using drugs during the time period when Gillman is accused of trying to hire a hit man.
Yengich also questioned an immunity agreement prosecutors offered Olsen, and pointed to several incidents since the investigation in which Olsen has been involved with police and has not been charged.
"What they are giving him is blanket immunity," Yengich argued to the judge. " … This man has had multiple incidents since this time and seems to walk away from all of them."
Gillman is expected in court again next week for a bond hearing. She is being held at the Salt Lake County jail in lieu of $2 million cash-only bail.